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November 18, 2010

New Bill Supports Strategies to Connect Kids with Nature

Congressman Ron Kind (D–WI) today introduced the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill supports federal, state and local strategies that connect children with the natural world.

The Moving Outdoors in Nature Act will help get America's kids healthy and active by bolstering support for more natural play areas, outdoor recreation programs, public health initiatives, outdoor learning environments, service learning and other initiatives.

The legislation will achieve these goals by:
  • Directing President Obama to develop a federal strategy to connect children, youth and families with the outdoors;
  • Encouraging states to develop similar state-based strategies that incorporate public health, parks and recreation, transportation, and other initiatives at the local level; and
  • Supporting research documenting the health, conservation, and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in the natural world.
"Congressman Kind is leading the way in combating obesity and improving the health of our children," says Sierra Club's National Youth Representative, Jacqueline Ostfeld. "With one in three American children overweight or obese, there is an urgent need to set kids on a path towards healthier lifestyles. The Moving Outdoors in Nature Act would mobilize states to get their kids physically active in the natural world."

The conditions are right for making lasting changes in the ways children, youth and families relate to nature. In June 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled "Let's Move Outside!", expanding upon her campaign to solve childhood obesity within a generation by providing resources for families to get active in nature.

In addition, the Obama administration recently completed more than two dozen listening sessions nationwide as part of the president's America's Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative.

Today's introduction of the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act will complement these initiatives and could provide the framework for developing a broad-based strategy to reconnect children, youth and families to the outdoors.

The Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK)supports the passage of the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act, a bill that will help tackle the childhood obesity epidemic while building the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.

The members of OAK, a national strategic partnership, are brought together by the belief that the well-being of current and future generations and the health of our planet and communities depend on humans having a personal, direct and life-long relationship with nature and the outdoors.

OAK brings together on a Steering Committee Sierra Club, YMCA of the USA, REI, National Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League of America, The Outdoor Foundation, National Recreation and Park Association and the Children & Nature Network, collectively representing more than 30 million members, to address the growing divide between children, youth and families and the natural world.

Follow the Moving Outdoors in Nature Act's progress and learn more at www.OutdoorsAllianceForKids.org and on the OAK Facebook page at www.facebook.com/outdoorsallianceforkids.

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