Purpose: The proposed Healthy Kids Outdoors Act (S. 1802) will improve our children’s health, support economic growth and strengthen the future of conservation in America by reconnecting our children, youth and families with the natural world through innovative state strategies that connect communities with green spaces, provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, and engage the health community in educating parents and caregivers about the benefits of active time outdoors.
Legislative Content: The proposed Healthy Kids Outdoors Act of 2011 would:
• Provide state-level incentives to develop 5-year state strategies to connect children, youth and families with the natural world. State strategies are developed by agencies and partners in public health, parks and recreation, transportation, and other sectors to create innovative solutions and fund initiatives at the local level;
• Direct the President to develop a similar strategy at the federal level by bringing together federal agencies and national partners to create a national action plan; and
• Support research documenting the health, conservation, and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in the natural world.
Reconnecting with Nature to Strengthen America
• Our children’s lives are out of balance. Children today spend less time outdoors than any generation in human history, devoting just four to seven minutes a day on average in unstructured outdoor play while spending an average of seven and a half hours every day in front of electronic media.
• Our children’s health is declining. Obesity and attention deficit disorders are on the rise in America, especially among children. Obesity is the cause of many major health issues, decreasing the quality of life for Americans and straining our nation’s economy. Attention deficit disorders are impacting America’s competitiveness and readiness to learn in the classroom.
• Our economy is struggling. In addition to the negative economic impact of childhood obesity, the outdoor retail industry, many local tourist destinations or “gateway communities,” and state fish and wildlife agencies rely on revenue generated when Americans spend time outdoors.
• Our conservation legacy is at risk. Those who do not spend time in nature are less likely to protect it, leaving the future of conservation, our nation’s immense natural resources and America’s hunting and angling legacy at risk.
• Our military readiness is declining. Nearly one in four applicants to the military is rejected for being overweight or obese – it's the most common reason for medical disqualification