Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Doctors Prescribe Spending Time In Parks

Health + Wellness
Doctors Prescribe Spending Time In Parks

Doctors in Washington, D.C. are beginning to write prescriptions for their patients to spend time in parks to improve their health.

Shenandoah National Park. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

The initiative known as D.C. Park Rx is a partnership spearheaded by the National Park Service (NPS), whose Healthy Parks Healthy People program aims to connect people to parks through health promotion while creating the next generation of park stewards.

D.C. Park Rx’s greatest champion is Dr. Robert Zarr, a practicing primary care pediatrician at Unity Health Care’s Upper Cardozo Community Health Center. Dr. Zarr has persuaded 27 of his colleagues to prescribe parks to their patients, and over 500 prescriptions have been made in the past nine months.

Last year a searchable database of 350 city parks was linked to Electronic Medical Records. Those parks are rated based upon access, cleanliness, level of activity and safety. Mapping all of D.C.’s green spaces was an effort that involved volunteers as well as several organizations including the NPS and the National Environmental Education Foundation.

NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis, Dr. Robert Zarr, Dr. Maria Cristi Rueda and a patient holding her park prescription. Photo credit: HealthIT.gov

“With the information provided by [Park Rx], my children are more active and I feel encouraged to take them to the park,” said a patient's mother, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s Health IT Buzz. "I am happy because on my last visit with the doctor, my daughter lost one pound."

“Our patients, my colleagues, and I have embraced Park Rx with open arms because we are all ready for a positive approach to chronic disease that poses virtually no risk, but both prevents and treats our modern day plagues like obesity, asthma and mental illness,” Dr. Zarr wrote in a blog

“By getting people outside in Nature, I find that much more happens than weight reduction, lower heart rate and a sense of focus and well-being. We start to understand and value trees, clean air, water, fauna and flora in a way we hadn’t before, and we feel committed. We are creating the next generation of environmental stewards, conservationists and activists,” he added.

——–

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

The #1 Way to Improve Your Life? Nature

9 Tips for Wildflower Hunting

Study Shows Living Close to Nature Improves Mental Health

——–

Producing avocado and almond crops is having a detrimental effect on bees. Molly Aaker / Getty Images

At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

An oblique (left) and dorsal (right) photo of a female Pharohylaeus lactiferous. J.B. Dorey / Journal of Hymenoptera Research

Australia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It is home to more than 7% of all the world's plant and animal species, many of which are endemic. One such species, the Pharohylaeus lactiferus bee, was recently rediscovered after spending nearly 100 years out of sight from humans.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Scientists believe sharks use bioluminescence to camouflage themselves. Jérôme Mallefet

Scientists have newly photographed three species of shark that can glow in the dark, according to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science last month.

Read More Show Less
A FedEx truck travels along Interstate 10 by the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm near Palm Springs, California on Feb. 27, 2019. Robert Alexander / Getty Images

FedEx's entire parcel pickup and delivery fleet will become 100 percent electric by 2040, according to a statement released Wednesday. The ambitious plan includes checkpoints, such as aiming for 50 percent electric vehicles by 2025.

Read More Show Less
Empty freeways, such as this one in LA, were a common sight during COVID-19 lockdowns in spring 2020. vlvart / Getty Images

Lockdown measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic had the added benefit of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by around seven percent, or 2.6 billion metric tons, in 2020.

Read More Show Less