The Daily Illini

BAT Kids Study enhances understanding of health

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Louise Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave., is where Linda Steinberg, conductor of the BAT Kids Study, conducts her research. The study focuses on the different ways factors of nutrition and wellness interact, and how they can affect children’s development.

Louise Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave., is where Linda Steinberg, conductor of the BAT Kids Study, conducts her research. The study focuses on the different ways factors of nutrition and wellness interact, and how they can affect children’s development.

Nikky Gary

Nikky Gary

Louise Freer Hall, 906 S. Goodwin Ave., is where Linda Steinberg, conductor of the BAT Kids Study, conducts her research. The study focuses on the different ways factors of nutrition and wellness interact, and how they can affect children’s development.

By Dominic Rose, Staff writer

The BAT Kids Study is a research project that looks to understand the relationship between foods, physical activity, environment and the brain in children.

Linda Steinberg, conductor of the BAT Kids Study and master’s student in health communications, aims to better comprehend the impact these factors have on one another. She hopes it will allow people to make more informed decisions about the health and well-being of children in the future.

The Daily Illini sat down with Steinberg to discuss the nature of her study and to talk about the importance of her research.

The Daily Illini: What is the layout of the study?

Linda Steinberg: The BAT Kids Study is for 4- and 5-year-old children. Participation involves three visits to our laboratory at one to two hours each. Day one involves completion of paper and online surveys by the participant’s parent, an exercise walking test by the participant, a DEXA scan (a test to determine the density of bones) to accurately retrieve body fat percentage of the participant, height and weight measurements and blood pressure readings. On days two and three, the participant will be asked to come into our lab to perform computer-based cognitive tasks or pencil paper tests. On one of the cognitive days, an EEG (a test that detects abnormalities in the brain) will be performed while the participant engages in the computer-based learning tasks. Participants will be asked to record their food intake and activity over seven days when they are at home and provide two urine samples that they bring with them when they return to the lab for their second or third visit. All lab appointments are conducted at Freer Hall on the UIUC campus in Urbana.  

DI: Do participants get paid?

LS: Each participant is compensated with a $60 e-gift card from Amazon for their time and participation.

DI: What are the challenges of conducting this study?

LS: Recruiting for such a young age can be challenging and is easily our biggest challenge with this particular study.  

DI: What are the challenges of participating in the study?

LS: Working with children can be a lot of fun, but when we are working with a younger population of participants, it can be difficult to keep them engaged in all the activities. They tend to get tired easily and require breaks sometimes.  

DI: As a researcher, what does this study mean to you?

LS: It is fascinating to study how early life nutrition will affect the thoughts and health of a child throughout life. This study will allow us to get a better idea of how important early life nutrition is and what aspects of early life nutrition affect thinking ability most and in what way.

DI: What are the benefits of participating in this study?

LS: The participant will be involved in science in a new and fun way that he (or) she is not commonly exposed to, especially at the young ages of 4 and 5-years-old. The parents of the participant will acquire basic medical information upon request, at no cost to them. The participant assists with the improvement of early life research.

DI: What would you say to any students interested in conducting research?

LS: Conducting research is a fantastic way to learn and make a contribution to the area you are studying. If you are interested in research, I would start by identifying a principal investigator whose research aligns with your interests. I would reach out to him (or) her and see if you can visit the lab he (or) she works out of. This will give you the opportunity to explore what area of research is right for you.

DI: What would you say to any students interested in participating in this study?

LS: There (are) a lot of opportunities to participate in research, especially at the University. Typically, there are several benefits from participation that could be extremely attractive to students. I would encourage students to continually look into any opportunity to participate in research. You are helping science tremendously and making money as well. (It) can’t get much better than that.

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