Are you worried about gaining extra kilos? Stay fit by playing a simple online game developed by researchers in Britain. The researchers suggested that this new computerized game can help people control their snacking impulses and lose weight.
The online game requires people to repeatedly avoid pressing on pictures of certain images such as biscuits, whilst responding to other images such as fruit and therefore trains people to associate calorie-dense foods with 'stopping'. The research team found that 41 adults who completed four 10-minute sessions of the training online lost a small but significant amount of weight and ate fewer calories. The online training also reduced how much the calorie-dense 'stop' foods were liked. The reduction in weight and unhealthy snacking was maintained almost for six months after the study.
Lead author Natalia Lawrence from University of Exeter said, "These results are among the first to suggest that a brief, simple computerized tool can change people's everyday eating behavior. It is exciting to see the effects of our lab studies translated to the real world. Our results suggest that this cognitive training approach is worth pursuing: It is free, easy to do and 88 percent of our participants said they would be happy to keep doing it. This opens up exciting possibilities for new behavior change interventions based on underlying psychological processes."
83 adults from the local community aged 23-65 years with BMIs ranging from 21 to 46 (healthy to obese) were part of the study. Study participants had to report regular intake (at least three times per week) of energy-dense snack foods (crisps, chocolate, biscuits) and some problems controlling their food intake on a screening questionnaire.
The study is published in Appetite.