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Children and Nature Initiative
Rx for Outdoor Activity

Goal: Connect children and their families to nature for health benefits.

children and natureNEEF’s Children and Nature Initiative: Rx for Outdoor Activity aims to prevent serious health conditions like obesity and diabetes related to indoor sedentary lifestyles and connects children and their families to nature to promote good health, enjoyment, and environmental stewardship. Research indicates that unstructured outdoor activities may improve physical and mental health by increasing physical activity, reducing stress, and serving as a support mechanism for attention disorders. Learn more.

The Initiative educates pediatric health care providers about prescribing outdoor activities to children. The program also connects health care providers with local nature sites, so they can refer families to safe and easily accessible outdoor areas.

Prescription pad

This Initiative employs NEEF’s highly successful Faculty Champions model, which has trained thousands of health care providers on environmental health issues to date. NEEF is holding a series of “train-the-trainer” workshops to prepare pediatric health care providers to serve as Nature Champions in their communities. These Champions build capacity among other pediatric health care providers to be leaders in prescribing nature. NEEF provides pediatric health care providers with technical support, tools and resources, including a PowerPoint presentation created by medical experts, Children's Health and Nature Fact Sheet, Children & Nature infographic, prescription pads (English and Spanish), patient brochures (en Español) and Pediatric Environmental History Screening Form (en Español).

To download these materials, please visit our resources page.

Through the Children and Nature Initiative, health care providers, parents, outdoor organizations, schools, federal, state and local agencies, community groups and other institutions can work together to encourage children to spend more time outdoors and teach them how to protect their health and the environment. 

For more information, please contact [email protected].

 

Dr. Robert Zarr talks about the children and nature initiative.

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New Orleans Nature Champion Training January 26, 2013

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LSU/Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Sarah Stender, NEEF’s newly trained Nature Champion, talks about the importance of prescribing nature and bringing the Children and Nature Initiative: Rx for Outdoor Activity to New Orleans.

NEEF's project in New Orleans is funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

 

children's environmental health excellent award

 

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Go outside for health benefits

Find a national wildlife refuge, national fish hatchery, park, playground, or nature center near you!

Recreation.gov: Explore your America

National Wildlife Refuges List

National Fish Hatchery Map

Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries

US Forest Service- Discover the Forest

Nature Find

Nature Rocks: Let's Go Explore


Plum Landing

Plum Landing is a unique resource designed to help children connect to nature, live healthier lives, and get excited about their role as caretakers of their communities. It provides online games, an app, and other interactive tools.


New NPS Park Rx Video

The National Park Service's Park Prescriptions Documentary explains NEEF's Rx for Outdoor Activity to prescribe nature to patients and promote less sedentary lifestyles. Watch the teaser here.


Walking in Nature: Prescription for Better Health

New blog entry, "Walking in Nature: Prescription for Better Health" for the Every Body Walk! Collaborative.


New Textbook Resource

Textbook of Children's Environmental Health edited by Philip J. Landrigan and Ruth A. Etzel includes a chapter on the play environment, highlighting the benefits of free play in nature. 


Rx for Outdoor Activity Training Webinar

Archive now available.


APHA Adopts Policy Statement on Nature, Health and Wellness

The American Public Health Association adopted a new policy statement in order to aid in promoting healthy and active lifestyles. 


Using Nature and Outdoor Activity to Improve Children's Health

pediatric and adolescent health cover
NEEF’s article is  featured in the May 2010 issue of Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent Health Care. Read the abstract.

NPS Healthy Parks Healthy People US

National Park Service’s Healthy Parks Healthy People US is an initiative working to reintegrate human, environmental and ecological health into the mission of public parks and public lands.
Resources include:
- Strategic Action Plan
- Science Plan

Park & Health Guide

NEEF's Children and Nature Initiative is featured in the institute at the Golden Gate's new Parks & Health Guide. The Guide is a tool for parks, prescribers, and providers to share resources in their communities.