When trying to lose weight, you can benefit from having a weight loss body even if it’s virtual. It was found that when women watched an avatar act our healthy behaviors, the women lost an average of about a pound a week.
Melissa Napolitano, an associate professor of prevention and community health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, stated in a press release, “this small study suggests that virtual reality could be a promising new tool for building healthier habits.” She also mentioned, “you don’t have to be a gamer to use virtual reality to learn some important skills for weight loss.”
Virtual reality continues to be more widespread, it has found uses in unlikely places, even with healthcare. A number of studies shown that people identify themselves with avatars that look like them and that interacting with the avatars can help patients deal with conditions from eating disorders to PTSD. Avatars can help shape behaviors, for example, in one study people were more likely to exercise the very next day if they had watched an avatar that looked like them run on a treadmill.
For a new study, Napolitano and her colleagues recruited eight overweight and let them pick their own avatars that look like them with size and skin color. Once a week during a 30 minute session, the eight women watched their avatar demonstrate behaviors that lead to weight loss. In one of the lessons, the avatar learned about portion sizes by looking at a plate with too much food and one with just the right portions. Also, in another video the avatar walked on a treadmill at the right pace just to help lose weight.
Four weeks later, the women had lost an average of 3.5 pounds, which is the same rate of weight loss that is achieved through traditional kinds of diets.
“This is just the first step to show that women, even those who are not gamers, are interested in an avatar-based technology to help them with a weight loss plan,” Napolitano explained. “We are excited by the potential of this technology as a scalable tool to help people learn the skills to be successful at weight loss over the long run,” she had mentioned.
In reference to Watching An Avatar May Help Some Lose Weight.