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Weight Management Interactions in a Virtual Clinical Environment

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC) ( National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) ) Identifier:
First received: September 10, 2011
Last updated: April 21, 2017
Last verified: April 5, 2017

This study is part of an effort to learn about interactions between doctors and patients. We aim to understand how women feel about techniques that doctors use to talk with patients about their weight. We are studying women s reactions to these techniques using a virtual reality version of a doctor s office to create as realistic a model of a doctor s visit as possible. This can help us better understand what happens during real doctor s visits.

Women between the ages of 20 and 50 who are currently overweight may be eligible for this study. Participants will be recruited from the Washington D.C. area. This is not a weight treatment study.

Participants undergo the following procedures:

  • Complete an online questionnaire about themselves, their experiences, and their thoughts about their weight
  • Participate in activities in a virtual reality environment in which they interact with a virtual doctor in a virtual clinical scenario. For this experiment, participants wear a head-mounted display that allows them to see the virtual world images.
  • Fill out a questionnaire after completing the virtual reality activities. This questionnaire includes information on the participants' virtual reality experience, the information provided in the experience, and additional questions about themselves and their thoughts.

Healthy Volunteers
Body Weight

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Other
Time Perspective: Cross-Sectional
Official Title: Weight Management Interactions in a Virtual Clinical Environment

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Self-efficacy for weight control; motivation to perform health-promoting behaviors; perceptions of stigmatization; attention

Enrollment: 318
Study Start Date: August 24, 2011
Detailed Description:

The primary goal of this research project is to build an evidence base related to primary care encounters that include discussions about a patient s body weight. We are particularly interested in how encounters impact patients health-related and weight-related attitudes and beliefs. Furthermore, this project aims to determine how a physician s approach to the health care encounter impacts its outcome.

The current study is a controlled experiment in which participants will be participate in a weight counseling encounter with a virtual reality-based doctor. The virtual doctor will present weight etiology information. Participants will fill out a self-report questionnaire online, prior to this encounter. They will then come in to the Immersive Virtual Environment Testing Area in the NIH Clinical Center for a visit. During this visit, they will engage in the interaction with the virtual doctor and then fill out a post-test questionnaire. Participants in the main trial will include approximately 222 healthy adult females between 20-50 years of age who have a BMI of greater than or equal to 25 and are dissatisfied with their current weight.


Ages Eligible for Study:   20 Years to 50 Years   (Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   Female
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

    1. being between 20 and 50 years old
    2. having a self-reported body mass index of greater than or equal to 25
    3. having the ability to read, write, and converse in English
    4. being able to come to the NIH Clinical Center for one visit


  1. having a vestibular or seizure disorder
  2. having a high propensity for motion sickness
  3. known pregnancy
  4. uncorrected low vision or hearing
  5. inability to complete tasks in the virtual environment
  6. being an NHGRI employee
  7. being or training to become a health care provider
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01443910

United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Sponsors and Collaborators
National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
Principal Investigator: Susan Persky, Ph.D. National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications automatically indexed to this study by Identifier (NCT Number):
Responsible Party: National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Identifier: NCT01443910     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 110238
Study First Received: September 10, 2011
Last Updated: April 21, 2017

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Body Weight
Immersive Virtual Enviroment Technology

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Body Weight
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on May 25, 2017