Started in 2011, by a Washington DC pediatrician by the name of Robert Zarr, there is a movement afoot in which doctors can prescribe the outdoors to patients! As a means to fight obesity, chronic disease and ‘nature deficit disorder’, doctors are sending folks outside. Parks Rx, which is a program under the National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People initiative, includes a newly created database that chronicles some 350 parks and helps match patients to local outdoor venues. The care providers and patient discuss what might be an enjoyable outdoor activity that would have strong health benefits – this information goes into the database as well to help determine the actual prescription.
This is both a wonderful development and a somewhat disturbing testament to how separated many people are from being physical in the natural world. How about getting outside to play, recreate and exercise BEFORE the doctor tells us to?
We can call it prevention.