The virtual reality (VR) technology can be used to determine how people perceive their bodies, to treat body image disturbances, and to improve adherence to physical activity among obese individuals, researchers report. 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, said Giuseppe Riva, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, Italy, and José Gutiérrez-Maldonado from University of Barcelona, Spain.
They demonstrated how VR environments can produce responses similar to those seen in the real world. Many chronic conditions are associated with a dysfunction of the stress system.
“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,” said Brenda K. Wiederhold from Virtual Reality Medical Institute in Brussels, Belgium.
The advantages of VR for evaluating body image disturbances and the potential to use VR to combat obesity were discussed in an article published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking. The special issue features a broad range of articles highlighting many aspects of virtual reality and its potential applications.