BUFFALO, N.Y. – Parents: if you have a child aged 8-12,
who doesn’t mind eating snacks while playing computer games,
the University at Buffalo wants to hear from you.
Researchers in UB’s Behavioral Medicine lab are recruiting
children to participate in a major research grant awarded by the
National Institutes of Health to nationally respected UB childhood
obesity expert Leonard Epstein, PhD, SUNY Distinguished Professor
of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Biomedical
The UB CRAVES study is designed to examine how factors influence
why, what and how much children eat and how these factors are
related to growth.
“We’re interested in habituation, which is when
repeated exposure to the same stimulus -- in this case, a
particular food -- leads to a decreased response from an
individual,” explains Epstein.
A better understanding of habituation will help researchers like
Epstein and colleagues at UB to better understand and treat obesity
in both children and adults.
“Here, we look at how motivated different individuals are
to work for food,” Epstein says. “Some people habituate
quickly to food while others habituate more slowly. We want to
study how habituation is related to growth and the factors that
Over the course of the two year study, participants will make a
total of 10 visits lasting two hours each, to the UB Behavioral
Medicine lab on the UB South Campus, Farber Hall. Participants will
receive a $20 gift certificate for each completed visit and a $100
bonus after completing the study for a total of $300 in gift
The first four visits in the first year consist of an orientation
visit and three laboratory visits. During the orientation visit,
each parent and child will be asked to read and sign consent and
Each of the three laboratory sessions last between 90 and 120
minutes. Children are asked not to eat or drink anything other than
water for three hours prior to the laboratory sessions or eat the
study foods 24 hours before.
During each laboratory session, the children are asked to play a
computer game; they earn snacks while they play, based on the
points they earn in the game. The children also complete
questionnaires about their hunger and how much they liked specific
foods at each visit. In one session, they will complete
questionnaires about different foods and talk about his/her
physical activity over a period of one week.
To participate in the study, please call 716-829-5788 or
complete the eligibility survey at