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Congress May Tell Illinois Kids, “Go Outside and Play”

November 29, 2010

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Seven hours in front of electronic entertainment and seven minutes outdoors. That's what constitutes "play" for most kids these days, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.

This lack of outdoor activity is being cited as one reason for the increase in childhood obesity, in legislation just introduced in Congress. The Moving Outdoors in Nature Act would encourage Illinois and other states to collaborate with communities, businesses and parents to increase outdoor activities.

Patrick Fitzgerald with the National Wildlife Federation, says it's also important for portions of the Illinois economy.

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

It's also about restoring balance to kids' lives, Fitzgerald adds.

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

The National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club and YMCA are supporting the legislation.

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

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL