Improving weight maintenance using virtual reality (second life)

Debra K. Sullivan, Jeannine R. Goetz, Cheryl A. Gibson, Richard A. Washburn, Bryan K. Smith, Jaehoon Lee, Stephanie Gerald, Tennille Fincham, Joseph E. Donnelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective: Compare weight loss and maintenance between a face-to-face (FTF) weight management clinic and a clinic delivered via virtual reality (VR). Methods: Participants were randomized to 3 months of weight loss with a weekly clinic delivered via FTF or VR and then 6 months' weight maintenance delivered with VR. Data were collected at baseline and 3 and 6 months for weight and process variables. Twenty overweight and obese individuals (31.1 ± 3.6 years of age; body mass index, 32.8 ± 5.1; 85% females; 20% minorities) responded to advertisement and met inclusion criteria. Diets (1,200-1,800 kcal/d) used prepackaged meals, fruits and vegetables, and physical activity (300 min/wk). Results: Weight loss was significantly greater for FTF at 10.8% compared with 7.6% for VR (. P < .05). However, weight maintenance was significantly greater for VR at 14.0% compared with 9.5% for FTF (. P < .05). Conclusions and Implications: Virtual reality compares favorably with FTF for weight loss and may facilitate greater weight maintenance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-268
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Obesity
  • Virtual reality
  • Weight maintenance


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