142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Connecting with Nature for Better Health and Wellbeing

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014: 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
People experience higher levels of health and wellbeing when they live in communities with easy access to natural environments. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that outdoor time in natural environments improves health by increasing physical activity and reducing stress, and provides a greater sense of wellbeing. 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. Low-income and minority communities suffer disproportionately from these conditions and are often are more cut-off from nature. National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) launched its evidence-based Children and Nature: Rx for Outdoor Activity Initiative as a replicable model to address this issue. The Initiative sets forth a two-pronged strategy that trains health professionals to prescribe nature to children and their families and links them with nature sites in their communities. This program aims to inspire a lifelong habit of being active outdoors in children and families, leading to better health and wellbeing, especially among disadvantaged communities. This session will highlight APHA’s recently adopted policy statement “Improving Health and Wellness through Access to Nature”; provide an overview of NEEF’s Children and Nature Initiative model and the scientific evidence; and present the successes of and the lessons learned from the implementation of the model in New Orleans, Louisiana. The New Orleans project, which is being implemented in partnership with the National Park Service, is one of the 23 pilot sites of the Children and Nature Initiative. This session is directly linked to the APHA Annual Meeting theme, “How Where You Live Affects Your Health and Wellbeing” and will address several of the Environment Section priorities, including Nature and Health, Built Environment and Healthy Communities, Children’s Environmental Health, and Environmental Justice and Health Disparities.
Session Objectives: 1. Articulate the scientific basis for the physical and mental benefits of nature 2. Describe strategies for promoting the recommendations of the APHA's Improving Health and Wellness through Access to Nature policy statement 3. Identify ways to replicate the Children and Nature: Rx for Outdoor Activity Initiative in other communities

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Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Socialist Caucus

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: Environment