GoWoman Poster Abstract


The results of the pilot testing phase of the GoWoman Program are now available. They were presented by Dr. Margaret Nosek and Dr. Susan Robinson-Whelen in October 2015 at the annual conference of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine in Dallas. The poster is available for viewing by clicking here.

Title: A Virtual-Reality Weight Loss Program for Women with Mobility Limitations: Results of a Pilot Study

Authors: Margaret A. Nosek,1 Susan Robinson-Whelen,1 Rosemary B. Hughes,2 Tracey A. Ledoux,3 Rebecca Goe,2 Stephanie L. Silveira,3 Rebecca E. Lee,4 Daniel P. O’Connor,3 Thomas M. Nosek,5 and the GoWoman Consortium

1 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, 2 Rural Institute, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, 3 Texas Obesity Research Center, University of Houston, Houston, TX, 4 College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, 5 Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH


Research Objective: To develop and pilot test a weight management intervention designed to meet the unique needs of women with mobility limitations (ML).

Design: Interrupted time series quasi-experimental design

Setting: Intervention conducted in Second Life (SL): Free, publicly available, 3-D immersive virtual world. Circumvents many of the geographic, transportation, logistic, physical, and personal barriers to traditional weight loss programs faced by women with ML

Participants: Thirteen women with disabling conditions affecting mobility completed the pilot weight management intervention program.

Intervention: We adapted the Diabetes Prevention Program with input from an interdisciplinary team of researchers and a national community advisory board (CAB) of women with ML. The program, GoWoman, was modified to address the unique needs of women with ML. The program consisted of 16 weekly sessions with women meeting in SL using their avatars. Led by two facilitators, sessions were two hours long. Strategies included daily food and activity tracking using, action planning, and group debriefing, and group discussion.

Main Outcome Measures: Weight, waist circumference, self-reported physical activity (PASIPD) and energy intake (ASA-24), participant post-intervention qualitative evaluation.

Results: Thirteen participants attended 50% or more GoWoman sessions. Nine participants lost weight (0.5-17.7 pounds), and eight reduced their waist circumference (1-5 inches). There was a significant increase in average physical activity, and the average reduction in energy intake was 243 kcal/day (potentially 20-25 pounds/year). Post-intervention participant evaluation was highly positive for the program and for group interactions in SL.

Conclusions: Facilitated group interaction and support using action planning, combined with unique features of Second Life, can encourage real life changes in both diet and physical activity with moderate weight loss in women with mobility limitations.

Return to GoWoman – Results