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NHLBI Obesity Research

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Virtual Reality Technologies for Research and Education in Obesity and Diabetes

Project Period: January 2012 – January 2015
Contact: Dr. Abby Ershow

This multi-mechanism program (R01, R21, SBIR/STTR) encourages development and validation of virtual reality (VR) technologies that can provide interactive computer-simulated environments for use in the management and prevention of diabetes and obesity. The goals are to capitalize on the unique capabilities of VR to teach, motivate, and visualize outcomes, increase social networking capabilities, extend health care and learning environments for patients and providers, and foster adherence to desirable eating, physical activity, self-care, and other health-related behaviors. Two projects have been funded to date: 1) an STTR award to improve Internet-based behavioral obesity treatments through the development of a virtual reality system that can be integrated into existing Internet weight control programs; and 2) an SBIR award (in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics) to improve the motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral coaching skills of pediatricians and other health professionals to improve their ability to address childhood obesity. This program was initiated based on recommendations from a July 2010 workshop (

Last Updated February 2013

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