272601 National movement to connect children and families with nature

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 8:50 AM - 9:10 AM

Leyla McCurdy, MPhil , Senior Director, Health & Environment, National Environmental Education Foundation, Washington, DC
A growing body of evidence suggests that outdoor time in natural environments improves health by increasing physical activity and reducing stress, and provides a greater sense of well-being for people of all ages. The built environment, which often includes dense residential and commercial development, high-volume traffic and lack of green space, coupled with high levels of electronic media usage, has contributed to an increase in sedentary indoor lifestyles in today's society. In turn, this has led to an increase in obesity and other chronic conditions resulting in negative health outcomes. To address this issue several initiatives have been launched both at the national and local level. This presentation will provide an overview of the national initiatives and highlight the National Environmental Education Foundation's (NEEF) Children and Nature Initiative as a model that can be replicated at the community level. The Children and Nature Initiative aims to inspire a lifelong habit of being active outdoors for children and families, leading to healthier lifestyles across the life span. It sets forth a two-pronged strategy that trains health professionals to prescribe nature to children and links them with nature sites in their communities. Through train-the-trainer workshops, NEEF educates health professionals and equips them with the tools and resources they need to take leadership in their communities, train other health professionals to prescribe nature, and partner with land managers at nature sites.

Learning Areas:
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
List key national initiatives to connect people to outdoors for health benefits; Identify ways to replicate the Children and Nature Initiative in other communities.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been managing environmental health programs for over two decades. I have trained hundreds of health professionals on environmental health, created several tools and resources, presented at numerous health professional conferences, including APHA, and have published several peer-reviewed publications, including "Using Nature and Outdoor Activity to Improve Children’s Health,” published in "Current Problems and Pediatric Health Care".
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.