The Intersection Between Loss of Control Eating and Obesity: The Role of Restriction and Food Reinforcement


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This study aims to determine the relationships among loss of control eating, restriction, relative reinforcing value of high energy-dense food, and obesity risk. In order to achieve this aim, the investigators will follow children over the course of a year, obtaining behavioral and observational measurements, in addition to a two-week restricted access and two week non-restricted access period.

Study Overview

Start Date
November 11, 2021
Completion Date
April 18, 2025
Date Posted
January 4, 2022
Accepts Healthy Volunteers?


Full Address
State University of New York at Buffalo, South Campus
Buffalo, New York 14214, United States


Minimum Age (years)
Maximum Age (years)
Eligibility Criteria
Inclusion Criteria:

Children (male and female) ages 8-11
At risk for obesity or with obesity (defined as either having a BMI percentile that classifies the child as having overweight-BMI >85th percentile but <99th OR one + biological parent with overweight/obesity-BMI >25)
Rating of neutral or higher for 50% of the study foods
Consumption of one of the study foods at least twice/week

Exclusion Criteria:

Children below age 8 or above age 11
Not at risk for obesity (defined as having a BMI percentile that classifies the child as having normal weight-BMI <85th percentile without having a parent with overweight or obesity)
Allergic to study foods
Dislike of study foods (Less than 50% of the study foods rated neutral or higher)
Does not consume at least one study food at least twice/week
Current diagnosis of a clinical eating disorder (ED)
Use of medications known to affect appetite (Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, Wellbutrin, Prednisone, etc)
Unwillingness to complete study visits

Study Contact Info

Study Contact Name
Katherine Balantekin, PhD, RD; Hannah Kolpack, BS
Study Contact Phone

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Other Details

FDA Regulated Drug?
FDA Regulated Device?
Detailed Description
The study will be mostly observational but will also include a randomized, cross-over design (the restricted access paradigm). The investigators will recruit children at risk for obesity in Erie County, New York (N=100, 50 boys, 50 girls). The study will include 4 visits at baseline and follow-up visits at 6 and 12 months. At the first visit, the participants will complete consent, height/weight/body fat, questionnaires, and complete a delayed discount task and the relative reinforcing value task. The participants will be randomized to have two weeks of restricted access first or two weeks of non-restricted access first, and then will come into the laboratory to do the loss of control test meal. Then they will have a one-week washout period, and will then complete the other two weeks of restricted/not restricted access. Following this, they will complete the loss of control test meal again. At the follow-up visits, participants will come into the laboratory to have their height/weight/body fat measured, complete questionnaires, and complete the delayed discounting task, food reinforcement and loss of control test meals. Participants will be compensated for their time after each visit. The details of the measures and procedures are outlined below.
NCTid (if applicable)