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Congress Takes Aim at the Next Generation of MT Hunters

November 22, 2010

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

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

"The decline we're seeing in hunting participation has an impact on the state agencies that sell hunting licenses and also on 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; they could be looking at the school system and after-school programs and seeing how we can have time for outdoor play and outdoor activities."

The NWF, Sierra Club, Outdoors Alliance for Kids and YMCA are supporting the legislation, which has been introduced in the U.S. House.

The Kaiser Family Foundation research is available at www.kff.org.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - MT