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Congress May Tell Maine Kids to “Go Outside and Play”

November 29, 2010

AUGUSTA, Maine - 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 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 activities.

It's also important for portions of the Maine economy, 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."

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

Kaiser Family Foundation research is at www.kff.org

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - ME