Three Chicago area universities are teaming to look at how nature and nurture interact to affect children’s health.

CHICAGO (AP) – Researchers in Chicago are seeking pregnant women to participate in the biggest, most detailed national children’s health study.

The study is examining how social and physical environments interact with genetics to affect kids’ health. It aims to answer questions such as why are asthma, autism and obesity so common in kids?

The study will follow more than 100,000 children and their families from before birth until age 21. Recruitment began last year outside Illinois; now 4,000 participants are being sought from Cook, DuPage and Will counties.

Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago are involved. Saint Louis University is too, and plans to begin recruiting in southern Illinois in 2012.

Information is available at or by calling 866-315-7124.

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