Weight Loss Prevention Goes Virtual

Imagine visiting an island where you have access to a relaxing pool, a rooftop kitchen and a gym -- and the support of thousands of women with physical disabilities.

gowomanpool300This scene is a reality of sorts. GoWoman island is part of a 3-D virtual world helping women with disabilities find success with weight loss. The Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD) has teamed up with Second Life to study the impact of virtual support systems on real-world weight management.

In Second Life, women create avatars of themselves and visit one of three islands to participate in virtual activities, such as cooking and riding an exercise bike. GoWoman island serves as an educational meeting place for women to discuss diet and exercise related to physical disability, as well as barriers.

Part of the success of Second Life is the use of an avatar’s body, which allows women to create a body of their choosing, that is, with or without a disability.

Learn more about Second Life through CROWD at https://www.bcm.edu/research/centers/research-on-women-with-disabilities. Get connected at http://secondlife.com/.

Image courtesy of CROWD.

About the Author

Elisha Bury is the editor of The Mobility Project. She can be reached at consumer@hmemediagroup.com.