Research into Eating Disorders and Obesity

Eating disorders and obesity are both disturbances associated with eating behaviour, weight and body image and a growing volume of research supports the consideration of 3D body imaging for these issues. Body Aspect has conducted studies to assess how 3D image assessment can support weight management, and is currently evaluating how the technology can best be applied to weight management and eating disorders.

Image assessment software allows a person to create a 3D image of their perceived body and compare it to their body scan. In this way, body image distortion can be illustrated and quantified. People also benefit from seeing their progress in 3D rather than through weight alone because they can see exactly how their body size and shape is changing.

Body image assessment

3D body imaging technology can provide a useful tool in the process of body size and shape transformation. When Body Aspect provided their expertise to fashion guru Gok Wan during his popular series "How to Look Good Naked", it was the first time 3D image capture had been used to explore people's self-perceptions of body image. The relevance to eating disorders is clear and the technology was later used in a BBC documentary about eating disorders.

The imaging process

The 3D image capture process takes just a few seconds and creates an accurate 3D image of a person's body. Body Aspect's current imaging technology uses fourteen infrared sensors to capture a full 360 degree view of the body.

3D motivation

Seeing yourself in 3D can be enlightening. It is a potential motivator to stimulate the process of change, and will help to monitor progress in a more meaningful way than has previously been possible. Body Aspect's technology allows a person to create a 3D image corresponding to their perceived body and allows the creation of a target image that corresponds to the healthy size and shape that a person is aiming for.

Reliable precision

The accuracy of the imaging equipment allows a person to track their change over time. Being able to see incremental changes can reveal just how much a person is achieving in ways that other forms of measurement are not able to show.

What study participants have said

The scan has been a great motivator. I feel drummed up to focus on my weight loss programme.
It really helped with my motivation - because the scan doesn't lie.
It made me want to think more kindly of myself - to have a more positive body image.

Towards BodyVR

We want to develop technology that will help professionals with their current approaches, but also be incorporated into new interventions.

There is a growing body of research that supports the use of virtual reality for eating disorders and obesity but there is a lack of software available to clinics and clinicians.

The system that we are proposing comprises a combination of 3D Body Scanning, virtual reality equipment and software which we believe could assist in the following ways:
  • Simulate challenging situations
  • Monitor progress
  • Assist with motivation
  • Raise awareness
  • Assess perception

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

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