TOS Member Spotlight: Conversation with Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, PhD

By Tanesia Dwight posted 02-14-2017 12:23

member spotlight
This month’s Member Spotlight features a conversation with TOS Member Stephanie Anzman-Frasca

Q: Can you tell us your full name (with credentials), affiliation, and any leadership roles (Committees, Sections, etc.) you’ve held with TOS?

My name is Stephanie Anzman-Frasca, PhD, and I’m an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University at Buffalo. I have been involved with TOS and the Pediatric Obesity Section (POS) since 2008 and held the Early Career Representative position on the POS Council from 2014-2016.

Q: What is your primary research area? 

My research is centered at the intersection of developmental psychology and obesity prevention, with an overarching goal to promote healthy developmental trajectories for all individuals beginning in early life. I am interested in the psychological processes behind individuals’ health behaviors, interactions between these processes and contextual factors, and the interplay between obesity risk and other aspects of well-being, particularly among young children.

Q: What is something you’ve worked on or accomplished recently in the field of Obesity? 

Recently, my lab group, the Child Health and Behavior Lab, has been pursuing a few new research projects related to childhood obesity prevention. Through this work, we have been exploring ways to modify individuals’ behavior as well as the environment. First, we received pilot research funding to develop and test a board game aiming to promote delay of gratification skills in preschool children. Delay of gratification, or the ability to resist the temptation of an immediate reward and wait for a later reward, is an exciting intervention target because it has been linked to a range of developmental outcomes, including but not limited to obesity. Thus, it offers the potential to affect multiple aspects of child health and well-being simultaneously.

We have also been working on research to promote healthier eating in restaurants. Many families dine at restaurants on a regular basis, making it important to promote the same healthy eating habits that we would encourage at home and school in these settings. Compared to home and school, less is known about promoting healthy eating among children in restaurants, but evidence is starting to grow. I recently published a manuscript along with colleagues from Healthy Dining and ChildObesity180 at Tufts University, which explored parents’, children’s, and restaurant executives’ views on healthy children’s meals in restaurants. Exploring the intersections between the perspectives of these different stakeholders can help us to develop in-restaurant interventions that are feasible for restaurant operators and appealing to families. We are continuing to build on this work by conducting restaurant research with partners in the Buffalo community.

In addition, I have been working with faculty colleagues at the University at Buffalo to increase collaboration among the many researchers across our university’s departments who are studying ingestive behavior. My colleague, Dr. Ann-Marie Torregrossa, and I co-led the first annual University at Buffalo Ingestive Behavior Research Day in Spring 2016, which featured oral and poster presentations and a research proposal brainstorming session. The day was attended by researchers across departments at our university, as well as guests from the University of Guelph. We are currently planning the second annual University at Buffalo Ingestive Behavior Research Day and look forward to continued growth in this and other activities led by this group in the future.

Q: How can other TOS members get involved with this work?

Prospective graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who are interested in learning more about the University at Buffalo Ingestive Behavior research group are encouraged to check out our website.

Members can also learn more about the work of the Child Health and Behavior Lab at or on Twitter@ubhablab.

TOS is pleased to support the work of our members. We'd love to hear about your individual efforts in the research, prevention and treatment of obesity. Please contact me at to share your story.