TORC at UH turns to virtual world of Second Life for new study

Aug 07, 2008

The University of Houston department of health and human performance is launching an international effort to recruit 500 participants for a study promoting healthy dietary habits and physical activity. The study will take place entirely in the virtual world of Second Life (SL).

The project is part of the UH Texas Obesity Research Center's (TORC) International Health Challenge, and offers an enjoyable way for participants to learn about preventing and treating obesity through education, skills training and outreach.

"This is an excellent opportunity to learn and practice these new behaviors in a virtual environment and in real life," said Rebecca Lee, associate professor and director of TORC. "It's also a great place to meet other avatars and share information and experiences."

The TORC International Health Challenge in Second Life will provide opportunities for avatars to earn Lindens—the currency of Second Life—for walking on treadmills, riding bikes and trying new fruits and vegetables in Second Life. Participants compete to earn "Challenge Points" for their healthy behaviors. The country team that earns the most Challenge Points will win the International Health Challenge. Materials will be available in English, French and Spanish.

TORC was an awardee of the University of Southern California-Annenberg School for Communication's Network Culture Project: Second Life and the Public Good Community Challenge. TORC will develop space in Second Life, create games and interactive learning opportunities and reward avatars when they join the International Health Challenge and participate in health behaviors in Second Life.

"We hope to develop multi-national collaborations in SL to increase awareness, knowledge, skills and support for healthy living," Lee said. "Reducing obesity is an international priority, and SL provides a portal to an international community." Lee has conducted extensive research on the subject of obesity, in particular the neighborhood factors that may lead to obesity, such as availability and quality of fresh produce, and the quality and quantity of physical activity resources available in neighborhoods.

Participants must be members of Second Life and can visit slurl.com/secondlife/HHP%20at%20UH/128/128/0 to sign up.

Source: University of Houston

Explore further: 2015 match sees high proportion of unmatched seniors

Related Stories

Women still find it tough to reach the top in science

Mar 24, 2015

Women are playing an increasing role in science today but there are still barriers that can prevent them from achieving success comparable to their male colleagues. This feeds the argument that there is a ...

Searching for coolant traces in the atmosphere

Mar 24, 2015

Fourth generation halogenated coolants and foaming agents have only been in use for a few years. They have replaced persistent greenhouse gases such as R134a, which were used in (car) air conditioning units, ...

Dyson likes what he sees in solid-state battery company

Mar 17, 2015

Michigan-based Sakti3, a spinout of the University of Michigan, is set on commercializing a breakthrough solid-state battery technology that would deliver high performance. The company working on their early ...

Recommended for you

2015 match sees high proportion of unmatched seniors

18 hours ago

(HealthDay)—About 6.1 percent of U.S. allopathic medical school seniors in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) were not placed into first-year residency positions, with a higher percentage of ...

What to do with kidneys from older deceased donors?

Mar 26, 2015

A new study highlights the best way to use kidneys from older deceased donors, providing the most benefits to patients and addressing the worsening organ shortage. The study's findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.