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Children 8-12 sought for UB behavior study

Parents: If you have a child age 8 to 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, distinguished professor of pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

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,” Epstein said in a news release.

A better understanding of habituation will help researchers better understand and treat obesity in both children and adults.

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 in Farber Hall on the South Campus. 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 certificates.

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 assent forms. Each of the three laboratory sessions last between 90 and 120 minutes. 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.

To participate, call 829-5788 or complete the eligibility survey at