Lose Weight Online

A 3-D virtual weight loss program may help feel better

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Finding time to exercise can often be difficult, especially if you work 8 hours a day and/or have children. Indiana University has found a virtual world that can help.

Researchers from Indiana University found an online weight loss program was more beneficial than a traditional face-to-face weight loss program. Participants of the virtual world reported more positive changes in eating and physical activity compared to the group who did not use the virtual tool.

"Virtual weight loss program helps people lose weight and feel better."

One would think a virtual weight loss program wouldn't work because being more active online doesn't indicate physical activeness. But Jeanne Johnston, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Indiana University, proved otherwise.

The 12-week study compared a traditional face-to-face and a virtual world weight loss program. Both programs provided information about nutrition, physical activity, habit changes and how to benefit from social supports.

The average age of face-to-face participants was 37, while the average age of the virtual world participants was 46. Most participants were overweight or obese females.

Both groups lost about the same amount of weight -10 pounds. However, the virtual world participants reported more positive changes in eating and physical strength.

Johnston says that even though it's a virtual world, the information can be carried over to the real world. She found that participants who wouldn't normally go to a gym - for a variety of reasons - benefited from participating in the online program from the privacy of their own home.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 3, 2011
Last Updated:
June 6, 2011