J. Med. Internet Res. - Innovation in weight loss programs: a 3-dimensional virtual-world approach.

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Resumo

CKGROUND: The rising trend in obesity calls for innovative weight loss programs. While behavioral-based face-to-face programs have proven to be the most effective, they are expensive and often inaccessible. Internet or Web-based weight loss programs have expanded reach but may lack qualities critical to weight loss and maintenance such as human interaction, social support, and engagement. In contrast to Web technologies, virtual reality technologies offer unique affordances as a behavioral intervention by directly supporting engagement and active learning.OBJECTIVE: To explore the effectiveness of a virtual-world weight loss program relative to weight loss and behavior change.METHODS: We collected data from overweight people (N = 54) participating in a face-to-face or a virtual-world weight loss program. Weight, body mass index (BMI), percentage weight change, and health behaviors (ie, weight loss self-efficacy, physical activity self-efficacy, self-reported physical activity, and fruit and vegetable consumption) were assessed before and after the 12-week program. Repeated measures analysis was used to detect differences between groups and across time.RESULTS: A total of 54 participants with a BMI of 32 (SD 6.05) kg/m(2)enrolled in the study, with a 13% dropout rate for each group (virtual world group: 5/38; face-to-face group: 3/24). Both groups lost a significant amount of weight (virtual world: 3.9 kg, P < .001; face-to-face: 2.8 kg, P = .002); however, no significant differences between groups were detected (P = .29). Compared with baseline, the virtual-world group lost an average of 4.2%, with 33% (11/33) of the participants losing a clinically significant (=5%) amount of baseline weight. The face-to-face group lost an average of 3.0% of their baseline weight, with 29% (6/21) losing a clinically significant amount. We detected a significant group ? time interaction for moderate (P = .006) and vigorous physical activity (P = .008), physical activity self-efficacy (P = .04), fruit and vegetable consumption (P = .007), and weight loss self-efficacy (P < .001). Post hoc paired t tests indicated significant improvements across all of the variables for the virtual-world group.CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these results offer positive early evidence that a virtual-world-based weight loss program can be as effective as a face-to-face one relative to biometric changes. In addition, our results suggest that a virtual world may be a more effective platform to influence meaningful behavioral changes and improve self-efficacy.

Resumo Limpo

ckground rise trend obes call innov weight loss program behavioralbas facetofac program proven effect expens often inaccess internet webbas weight loss program expand reach may lack qualiti critic weight loss mainten human interact social support engag contrast web technolog virtual realiti technolog offer uniqu afford behavior intervent direct support engag activ learningobject explor effect virtualworld weight loss program relat weight loss behavior changemethod collect data overweight peopl n particip facetofac virtualworld weight loss program weight bodi mass index bmi percentag weight chang health behavior ie weight loss selfefficaci physic activ selfefficaci selfreport physic activ fruit veget consumpt assess week program repeat measur analysi use detect differ group across timeresult total particip bmi sd kgmenrol studi dropout rate group virtual world group facetofac group group lost signific amount weight virtual world kg p facetofac kg p howev signific differ group detect p compar baselin virtualworld group lost averag particip lose clinic signific amount baselin weight facetofac group lost averag baselin weight lose clinic signific amount detect signific group time interact moder p vigor physic activ p physic activ selfefficaci p fruit veget consumpt p weight loss selfefficaci p post hoc pair t test indic signific improv across variabl virtualworld groupconclus overal result offer posit earli evid virtualworldbas weight loss program can effect facetofac one relat biometr chang addit result suggest virtual world may effect platform influenc meaning behavior chang improv selfefficaci

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