Playing of computer games had long been associated with obesity, yet some scientists claim that a particular computer game can help people stop snacking on unhealthy food and ultimately shed the extra pounds.
Dubbed as “Stop versus Go”, the computer game created by scientists from the UK shows players a series of photos of healthy and unhealthy foods. Players have to press either “stop or go” when a photo of a food appears on screen.
For instance, if an image of biscuit and other fattening foods are flashed on screen, players need to press “stop”. On the other hand, when images of vegetables, fruits, and other healthy foods appear, they must press “go”.
The online training game, which aims to teach people to associate calorie-dense food with the act of stopping, was tested on 100 adult volunteers with varying body mass index.
After a week of playing four 10-minute game sessions, the volunteers shed about 1.5 pounds each. Meanwhile, they lost about 4.5 pounds each after 6 months of playing the game because they learned to resist eating unhealthy food snacks.
Moreover, the energy intake of the volunteers fell by 220 calories per day.
Dr. Natalia Lawrence, the study’s lead scientist believes that the online training game can fight obesity by changing bad eating habits.
“These findings are among the first to suggest that a brief, simple computerised tool can change people’s everyday eating behaviour. It is exciting to see the effects of our lab studies translate to the real world. This research is still in its infancy and the effects are modest,” Dr. Lawrence said.
Because 64% of adults in the UK are either overweight or obese, Dr. Lawrence is hoping that the trial will be tested in a larger scale.
The online game may possibly be available on smartphones soon.