Online Program

Implementation and outcomes of a park prescription program in Washington, DC

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lauren Martin, MD, Pediatric Residency Program, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Kristen Reese, MD, Pediatric Residency Program, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Linda Cottrell, MPH, Child Health Advocacy Institute, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Autumn Saxton-Ross, PhD, DC Dept of Health, Washington, DC
Zsofia Jakab, School of Public Health and Health Services, The George Washington University, Washington, DC
Robert Zarr, MD, MPH, UNITY HEALTH CARE, INC., Washington, DC

Background: In Washington, DC, parks are free and abundant for children to exercise and enjoy nature. DC Park Prescription (DCParkRx) is a unique initiative connecting children to urban parks. Pediatricians prescribed time outside using one-page park summaries at four of Children's National Medical Center's community health centers, and changes in pediatricians' and parents' attitude and behavior toward parks were evaluated. Methods: 1. Mapped and rated parks within 1 ½ mi radius of each health center. 2. Developed park summaries highlighting accessibility, safety, and activities. 3. Trained pediatricians to prescribe physical activity using park summaries and maps. 4. Developed and administered surveys before and 1-2 months after intervention. 5. Performed descriptive analyses of data to assess behavior and attitude changes toward parks and time outside. Results: Provider and patient response rate was 100% (n=5) and 58% (n=50), respectively. All providers responded that DCParkRx was easy to use, and will continue to use it. Over 90% of parents felt parks were a good place to enjoy nature and get exercise; however, safety and time were cited as barriers. The percentage of parents who reported their pediatricians had discussed the importance of physical activity increased from 64% to 88%; the percentage of parents who reported their pediatricians discussed the importance of parks increased from 32% to 80%. Conclusions: Our study suggests that DCParkRx is valued by pediatricians for its utility and user-friendliness and remembered by families, thereby serving as a potential resource to increase physical activity by connecting children to nature.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the barriers to park use and physical activity among pediatric patients in an urban setting Identify the barriers preventing pediatricians from routinely recommending outside time and park use to their patients Evaluate the changes in attitude and behavior in both pediatricians and patients toward spending time outside and in parks after performing a Park Prescription Program Intervention Demonstrate the positive impact of a Park Prescription on a family's perception of care and wellness.

Keyword(s): Exercise, Pediatrics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a third year pediatric resident interested in primary care and community health. I am particularly intersted in interventions that address the childhood obesity epidemic.
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.