Can virtual reality help fight obesity?

February 23, 2016

Virtual reality offers promising new approaches to assessing and treating people with weight-related disorders, and early applications are revealing valuable information about body image. The advantages of virtual reality (VR) for evaluating body image disturbances and the potential to use VR to combat obesity are discussed in an article that is part of special issue on Virtual Reality and Obesity published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The issue is available free to download on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website until March 23, 2016.

Journal Editor-in-Chief Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute (San Diego, CA) and Virtual Reality Medical Institute (Brussels, Belgium) and coauthors Giuseppe Riva, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and Istituto Auxologico Italiano (Milan, Italy) and José Gutiérrez-Maldonado, University of Barcelona, Spain, describe studies that demonstrate how VR environments can produce responses similar to those seen in the real world in the article "Virtual Reality in the Assessment and Treatment of Weight-Related Disorders". The authors provide examples in which VR technology is used to determine how people perceive their bodies, to treat body image disturbances, and to improve adherence to physical activity among obese individuals.

The special issue features a broad range of articles highlighting many aspects of virtual reality and its potential applications. These include: "Using Virtual Pets to Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Children: A Technology-Assisted Social Cognitive Theory Approach", by Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn et al.; "What Are You Thinking When You Look at Me?" A Pilot Study of the Use of Virtual Reality in Body Image", by Victoria A. Mountford et al.; and "Eating Disorders and Obesity in Virtual Reality: A Comprehensive Research Chart", by Emily Lafond et al.

"Many chronic conditions are associated with a dysfunction of the stress system: obesity, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes; hypertension; anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and pain syndromes. I am appreciative to the researchers and clinicians worldwide who are exploring innovative ways to utilize technology to provide more effective assessment and treatment methods to a greater number of individuals," says Dr. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN, Interactive Media Institute, San Diego, California and Virtual Reality Medical Institute, Brussels, Belgium.
-end-
About the Journal

Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly online with Open Access options and in print that explores the psychological and social issues surrounding the Internet and interactive technologies. Complete tables of contents and a sample issue may be viewed on the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative peer-reviewed journals in many promising areas of science and biomedical research, including Games for Health Journal, Telemedicine and e-Health, and Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, books, and newsmagazines is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.