An Exciting Day for Kids and Nature Policy

Yesterday, just in time for Great Outdoors Month, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) and Congressman Ron Kind (D-WI) have introduced the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act. This is a huge step forwards for getting kids and families outside! NWF and the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) are thrilled to see this exciting progress on federal policy to connect kids and nature.

Our Children’s Lives are Out of Balance

nature, stress, national stress awareness month, national wildlife federation, get outdoors, health
Children enjoy outdoor time in Florida in this donated image by National Wildlife Photo Contest entrant William Chitty.
Children today spend less time outdoors than any generation in human history, devoting just 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. Obesity and attention deficit disorders are on the rise.  And, if we don’t take steps to reconnect children and families with nature, our conservation legacy and the $646 billion outdoor recreation economy are at risk. Research has shown that a direct experience with nature before the age of 11 promotes a long-term connection to nature. Getting kids outside is critical to both improving our children’s health and nurturing the next generation of environmental stewards.

The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act 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.

The legislation 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 jointly by agencies and partners in public health, parks and recreation, transportation, and other sectors to create innovative solutions and support community-based 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
  • Support research documenting the health, conservation, and other benefits of active time spent outdoors in the natural world.

Take Action

Want to help? Urge Members of Congress to cosponsor the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act by signing your organization on here.

Published: May 22, 2014