Virtual reality – where people wearing headphones as well as other equipment expertise computer-generated environments as though they were actual – is assisting obesity investigators better understand people’s answers to their personal genetic information. Persky and her colleagues have conducted many studies using VR to judge how overweight people respond in clinical settings and in other sites when presented with genetic information regarding their own weight. Researchers also looked at guilt among overweight mothers of 4- and 5-year-old kids, providing information about the influence of lifestyle to one group and the ramifications of genetic factors and lifestyle into a second group. The parents subsequently were asked to select a meal to their kids from a virtual food buffet offering choices which were more healthy (grilled chicken, steamed carrots, peas and green beans) and less healthy (chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese). Why use a virtual buffet as opposed to an actual one? “It’s an assessment of true parent behaviour which may be quantified in the controlled, sterile laboratory, while it really looks and feels like a real-world environment where parents really make feeding choices,” Persky states.