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Virtual Reality Beneficial for Weight Maintenance

Virtual reality not as good as face-to-face for weight loss; better for weight maintenance

WEDNESDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- Virtual reality (VR)-based weight management may improve weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Debra K. Sullivan, Ph.D., from the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, and colleagues randomized 20 overweight and obese individuals (31.1 ± 3.6 years of age; body mass index, 32.8 ± 5.1 kg/m²; 85 percent females) to three months of weight loss with a weekly clinic delivered via face-to-face (FTF) or VR. Six months' weight maintenance was delivered via VR. Data regarding weight and process variables were collected at baseline and at three and six months. Prepackaged meals, fruits, and vegetables (1,200 to 1,800 kcal/day) were provided and physical activity consisted of 300 minutes/week.

The researchers found that there was significantly greater weight loss with FTF than with VR (10.8 versus 7.6 percent). However, for weight maintenance, VR was significantly better than FTF (14.0 versus 9.5 percent).

"Virtual reality compares favorably with FTF for weight loss and may facilitate greater weight maintenance," the authors write.

Health Management Resources, Boston provided the prepackaged meals.

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