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J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2015 Jan;9(1):145-8. doi: 10.1177/1932296814557326. Epub 2014 Nov 2.

Development of and feedback on a fully automated virtual reality system for online training in weight management skills.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, USA jthomas4@lifespan.org.
  • 2Virtually Better, Inc, Decatur, GA, USA.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA Bradley/Hasbro Children's Research Center/Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.
  • 4Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI, USA.

Abstract

Virtual reality (VR) technology can provide a safe environment for observing, learning, and practicing use of behavioral weight management skills, which could be particularly useful in enhancing minimal contact online weight management programs. The Experience Success (ES) project developed a system for creating and deploying VR scenarios for online weight management skills training. Virtual environments populated with virtual actors allow users to experiment with implementing behavioral skills via a PC-based point and click interface. A culturally sensitive virtual coach guides the experience, including planning for real-world skill use. Thirty-seven overweight/obese women provided feedback on a test scenario focused on social eating situations. They reported that the scenario gave them greater skills, confidence, and commitment for controlling eating in social situations.

KEYWORDS:

behavior; diet; technology; virtual reality; weight loss

PMID:
25367014
PMCID:
PMC4495525
DOI:
10.1177/1932296814557326
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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