272603 Role of the health care providers in connecting children and families with nature

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

Daphne Miller, MD , Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
Research supports the idea that spending time outdoors, especially in a natural setting, offers a variety of preventive and therapeutic health benefits for children and adults. One in three acres in the United States is public land with roughly two acres of public land per individual. While there are millions of visits to parks each year (over 280 million visits to National Parks alone), fewer than 20% of the population account for 70-89% of exercise and activity days. Medical prescriptions to federal, state and local parks, and the programs offered therein, has the potential to boost the number of Americans exercising on public land and subsequently increase physical fitness, decrease stress, and prevent disease. Given that a structured behavioral prescription (such as an exercise prescription) from a physician or other health practitioner can significantly boost adherence to that behavior, it is important to offer health providers the confidence, knowledge and tools to effectively prescribe time outdoors. To this end, this presentation will focus on three major areas: 1) existing educational programs, and programs in development, that are designed to educate health providers about the health benefits and risks associated with time spent outdoors. 2) case studies (both national and international) of existing health-outdoor partnerships involving a collaboration between public lands, non-profit organizations and either individual physicians, health care organizations or insurers. This will include case studies of incentive programs by insurers and hospitals that help build adherence. 3) practice tools, including an introduction to web portals, to facilitate Park/Nature Prescriptions. Finally, attention will be paid to efforts, now underway, to measure health outcomes related to these interventions. Collecting this data represents an important next step in integrating public lands into our public health system.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify major health benefits (and associated risks) of spending time outdoors. List three examples of successful health-outdoor collaborations. Describe existing tools, including web portals, for making Park/Nature Prescriptions.

Keywords: Environmental Health, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a family physician and associate clinical professor and have written and lectured extensively on the health benefits of nature and the role of the health care provider in connecting their patients with nature.
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.