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Congress May be Next to Say, “Go Outside and Play”

November 23, 2010

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Seven hours in front of electronic entertainment, and seven minutes outside. That's what constitutes play for most American kids today, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study. And that lack of outdoor activity is being cited in legislation just introduced in Congress as one of the reasons for rising childhood obesity.

The Moving Outdoors in Nature Act would encourage states to collaborate with communities, businesses, and parents to increase outdoor activities. It's especially important in Minnesota, where the economy is so tied to the Great Outdoors, according to Patrick Fitzgerald with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).

"With the decline that we're seeing in hunting participation, that has an impact on the state agencies that sell hunting licenses, and also the companies that sell that equipment."

Fitzgerald says it's also about restoring balance to kids' lives.

"These state strategies could look at things like walking and biking to school, looking at the school system and after-school programs, and seeing how we can have time for outdoor play and outdoor activities."

The NWF, The Outdoors Alliance for Kids, the Sierra Club and the YMCA are supporting the legislation.

Kaiser Family Foundation research is at www.kff.org

Sharon Rolenc, Public News Service - MN