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Can a Computer Game Promote Weight Loss?

Can a Computer Game Promote Weight Loss?

It has long been thought that sitting around all day playing computer games could be one of the reasons behind our current obesity epidemic.

However new research has suggested that a new computer game could promote weight loss by putting people off eating any high calorie snack.

How does this game work?

During the game, the players have to press either ‘go’ or ‘stop’ when they see an image of a type of food onscreen.

The aim of the game is to help the players to associate calorie-rich foods with the act of ‘stopping’.

What were the results of this research?

During the study that consisted of volunteers whose weight varied from a BMI of 21 to 46, lost around 1.5 pounds in a single week after playing the game 4 times for a period of 10 minutes.

At the conclusion of the 6 month study, the volunteers lost almost 4.5 pounds, with many reporting they had a reduced ‘like’ of those unhealthy snacks.

What caused these results?

Dr Natalia Lawrence of the University of Exeter, who was the lead scientist behind this study had this to say about the results:

“It is exciting to see the effects of our lab studies translate to the real world. This research is still in its infancy and the effects are modest — larger, registered trials with longer-term measures need to be conducted.

“However, our findings suggest that this cognitive training approach is worth pursuing. It is free, easy to do and 88% of our participants said they would be happy to keep doing it and would recommend it to a friend. This opens up exciting possibilities for new behaviour change interventions based on underlying psychological processes.”

Our view

While these results are promising, the ‘game’ itself does not sound overly interesting and I cannot see any commercial use for it.

I highly doubt that anyone is going to sit and ‘play’ this game, so while there was weight loss experienced in the volunteers this method of weight loss is not likely to take off any time soon. I would stick to your WII or Xbox for the time being.

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