CIGNA Establishes Health Care Community on Second Life Island

July 2, 2008 ( - CIGNA has announced the development of a virtual health care community situated on a Second Life island.

In this community, seminars, interactive displays, educational games, and virtual health consultations help foster behavior change that improves health, the announcement said. Second Life is a computer-simulated world in which users can create a new, virtual reality.

CIGNA’s virtual community, developed by Method, provides 3-D video game-like interactivity that enables people to learn and interact anonymously with like-minded peers in order to change their lifestyles, according to the announcement. The newly developed nutrition zone helps participants develop their nutrition knowledge, learn how to make healthier food choices, manage their weight, and understand portion sizes and food.

Upon entering the virtual health care community, visitors are welcomed by an avatar, which leads them to the virtual seminar where participants are able to communicate with each other by using text chat or voice through a headset and microphone. Following the seminar, participants are encouraged to explore interactive games, such as “The Fridge,” where clicking on food items displays their nutritional labels, or “Whack-a-Food,” where users compete with each other to test their knowledge of healthy foods.

A nutritionist avatar is available to answer specific questions.

Stress, physical activity and sleep zones within the community will be developed following an evaluation of people’s experience with the nutrition zone, CIGNA said.