Maine is one of five states starting a new research program tackling childhood obesity. “We know that childhood obesity has increased in our state and among our children and so we want to combat it at many different levels,” says Adrienne White, a Professor of Human Nutrition at University of Maine.The study is called “iCOOK” and it aims to get kids in the kitchen learning about what they eat. “To see where exactly their food comes from and how it is more healthy to cook instead of going out to eat,” says Carolyn Stocker, an undergraduate researcher.The university needs 100 families to participate, each child will be monitored over the next two years. Half the group will be a control group, and half will be in the kitchen. Researchers plan to begin at the end of this month. “The kids come in and they do an online questionnaire and then they get their height and weight done and then their blood pressure,” Stocker says.Experts say families who cook together are healthier together. “Being together in the kitchen and really being role models for each other so the parent role models for the child, and the child in a sense role models for the parent,” White says.The goal of the study is to produce a healthy eating curriculum. Researchers are looking for kids ages nine and ten, and their meal-preparing adult. Kids must not have any food allergies or medical restrictions, and have a computer with internet at homeParticipants will receive up to 80 dollars for being in the study.If you’re interested call 581-3315.