Take 2 Hikes and Call Me in the Morning

Posted on September 18, 2017

Outdoor activities have been found to strongly benefit in the fight against chronic medical conditions like obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, spending time in nature also seems to be helpful for patients suffering from mental health issues.

With the help of the National Park Service and other institutions Robert Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care in Washington, D.C., created DC Park Rx – a system that enables health care providers prescribe activity in parks or other outdoor spaces to patients.

DC Park Rx works in the way that clinicians can generate prescriptions with the use of a database that maps out all local parks, including recommended activities and park ratings. The programs vary depending on the health care provider and the patient’s location, for example some prescription models now also waive the park entrance fee for patients with a prescription!

During the last few years park prescription programs have made it across the whole country. In Vermont, for example, doctors have already prescribed over a thousand visits to state parks, and the numbers are rising! Nonetheless, there are still some issues to be solved: many patients, including those who are working multiple jobs, who are unemployed, or homeless, might not have the time to travel to and enjoy their neighbourhood park.

The overall consent is that prescribing a visit to the park can barely do any harm. Zarr of DC Park Rx points out that “visiting a park has fewer side effects and lower costs compared with some of the medications we give our patients!”

Category(s):Happiness, Health / Illness / Medical Issues

Source material from Scientific American

Mental Health News