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Center for Health Behavior Research

Research to improve the health and quality of life of people of all ages

The Center for Health Behavior Research is committed to improving the health and quality of life of people of all ages through health behavior research. The primary aims of the Center include:

  • conducting interdisciplinary scientific health behavior research to better understand the causes and consequences of obesity on child health
  • learn how children make decisions about nutrition and physical activity behaviors
  • provide individualized family-based behavioral weight control treatment for children.

We are interested in the translation of behavioral research findings for the development of individual, community and public health approaches for pediatric obesity prevention and treatment and for increasing the quality of life among children and families.

Promoting Healthy Living

Through health education, community service and advocacy, the Center is dedicated to the promotion of healthy living in home, community, school and workplace settings. The Center is also dedicated to addressing health disparities among children most at risk for lifestyle chronic health conditions including obesity and type 2 diabetes.


Family-Based Childhood Weight Control Program

The program focuses on helping children establish lifelong health behaviors. Parents and children work together and learn fun ways to eat healthier and be more physically active to lose weight and become healthier. Parents learn how to positively reinforce children's health behaviors and serve as role models for health behaviors in this family-based program. 

Eligibility: 5 to 8-year old children who are overweight and their parents

Requirements: Parents and children attend weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly sessions over a six-month period. An outcome evaluation is conducted at six and twelve months.

Study Status: Please contact Dr. Wrotniak for details about the next program offering

Investigator & Contact Information:

Dr. Brian Wrotniak
Phone: 716-829-7719

Dairy Intake in Pediatric Obesity Prevention and Treatment Interventions

The purpose of this study is to conduct secondary data analyses to assess the impact of dairy consumption on weight change in youth. Associations between dairy intake and weight change will also be assessed by type of dairy product (milk, yogurt, cheese) and amount of dairy fat.

This research is funded by a $60,525 research grant to Dr. Wrotniak from the U.S. Dairy Research Institute, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy® and the National Dairy Council®. Graduate students who wish to assist with this study should contact Dr. Wrotniak.

Study Status: Not recruiting. Secondary data analyses in progress

Investigator & Contact Information:

Dr. Brian Wrotniak
Phone: 716-829-7719


The Center for Health Behavior Research provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to become actively involved in research activities.

Student opportunities include volunteer work, independent study and thesis research. 

Volunteer Work

  • working with families on health behavior studies
  • data collection from children and adults
  • data entry
  • journal clubs
  • regular meetings to discuss the latest research

Students interested in research hours or volunteering to help with research activities should contact Dr. Brian Wrotniak by email at

Independent Study

Student opportunities are available through the Center for independent studies. Students interested in an independent study should consult the academic catalog to determine that they meet the requirements for an independent study. If you're eligible, contact Dr. Brian Wrotniak by email at


Master's thesis opportunities are available to graduate students. Students interested in completing a master's thesis should contact Dr. Brian Wrotniak by email at


The Center for Health Behavior Research is committed to helping end childhood obesity. Private philanthropy provides needed funding to help in this initiative.

To develop and test new and innovative behavioral treatments, provide clinical and behavioral health treatments for childhood obesity, and educating the public about the latest evidence-based discoveries will require increased private support.

The research produced by CHBR raises D'Youville's prominence and furthers its legacy of innovation and commitment to community. The Center encourages faculty and student excellence through interdisciplinary research and student engagement:

Show Your Support

Opportunities for philanthropy can be made through unrestricted contributions where funding is most needed, targeted research, named funds, and an endowed professorship.

Please consider making a philanthropic commitment to CHBR. To learn more, contact Brian H. Wrotniak, PT, PhD.