Online Program

Prescribing the outdoors to improve overall health and well-being

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 9:10 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Zarnaaz Bashir, MPH, Physical Activity, National Recreation and Park Association, Ashburn, VA

Park Rx is a new model of prevention and wellness—one that is less focused on prescribing medication and more about prescribing the outdoors to improve overall health and well-being. Park Rx is a community health initiative with a mission to “prescribe” time in parks, a park prescription, to prevent and treat chronic disease and promote wellness. Park Rx may vary programmatically across communities, but they all share a common goal: to improve physical and mental health among individuals and communities. Over 100 million Americans currently suffer from chronic diseases, and these conditions are in large part attributed to sedentary behaviors.  Prescribing parks is rapidly increasing across the U.S. as it is being recognized by the medical/public health communities and public at-large as a low-cost intervention that utilizes a known, generally trusted, and accessible resource – parks – to influence positive health outcomes.

In 2012, the National Park Prescription Initiative held its first convening of park and health professionals, national organizations, and subject-matter experts to identify best practices and to create consensus on how to programmatically expand Park Rx, while evaluating its effectiveness across diverse communities. Experts include the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Recreation and Park Association, Institute at the Golden Gate, National Park Service, and the National Environmental Education Foundation. This session will introduce a panel of practicing health providers, public health experts, and park professionals who will share innovative strategies for developing Park Rx programs and evidence for effecting positive health outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Define park prescriptions and the scientific evidence to support the positive health effects as a result of time spent in natural settings, particularly parks. Describe successful Park Rx models. Describe strategies for building a successful partnership between parks, healthcare providers, and community leaders. Explore policy implications of expansion of Park Rx, especially in terms of improved health outcomes, health care cost savings, and the use of health information technology in community resource access.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Chronic Disease Management and Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I joined the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) in October 2009 and am the Director of Strategic Health Initiatives. I am responsible for shaping and leading the vision of NRPA’s health and wellness portfolio, which includes identifying new partnerships and stewarding existing relationships in health and wellness, seeking fundraising opportunities, and overseeing programs that work to reduce chronic diseases and build healthier environments through parks and recreation.
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.