As a veteran former program leader for Outward Bound, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) knows the value of outdoor activity and recreation and how youth participation in outdoor activities has major health benefits. Early outdoor activities are also seen as the most effective way to develop a stewardship ethic.
To try and encourage more youngsters to hike, bike or fish, Udall has introduced the Healthy Kids Outdoors Act. According to Udall, the measure would combat childhood obesity by giving kids better access to outdoor activities through support for local, state and federal initiatives.
"Coloradans know our mountains, parks and open spaces are essential to our special way of life. But as study after study shows childhood obesity rates are increasing, we must do more to connect our kids with opportunities for outdoor adventure," Udall said. "The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act supports local initiatives across the United States to ensure our kids everywhere have access to outdoor recreational opportunities and they can reap the numerous benefits of an active lifestyle."
The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act provides incentives for states to develop action plans to connect children and families to the great outdoors. The proposal also would create a national strategy to increase outdoor activity and, through coordination with federal and local partners, further identify the health, conservation and other benefits of spending time outdoors.
The Healthy Kids Outdoors Act is supported by the Outdoors Alliance for Kids, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Izaak Walton League of America and YMCA of the USA.