“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature.”
“Time in nature is not leisure time; it’s an essential investment in our children’s health (and also, by the way, in our own).”
“Go outside and play!”
— Every mother everywhere
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has started an exciting new campaign to get kids outdoors for the sake of improving child health. It’s just what the doctor ordered:
Too often we underestimate the impact that nature and play have on children’s health. In fact, studies show that one of the best ways to stay healthy is to simply step outside. Parks and green spaces improve health and well being, strengthen communities, and make neighborhoods better places to live, work, and play. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy joins regional partners in Pittsburgh Parks Prescription, or Parks Rx, inviting children (and adults) in every neighborhood to explore and enjoy their local parks.
Dr. Trina Peduzzi (Pediatric Alliance — Allegheny) is one of the Parks Rx program’s regional partners. Her’s will be one of the first pediatric offices to provide prescriptions to young patients to find a park near them and play:
For the past year, I have served on the Parks Rx Clinical Advisory Team. As the name indicates, the team is mostly clinicians who have advised on what a rollout of this program might look like in Pittsburgh. We have finally reached the pilot stage and our Allegheny office is one of the five sites for the pilot program.
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy explains why the program matters:
Regular physical activity, regardless of age, is one of the most important lifestyle behaviors for maintaining a healthy weight and promoting quality of life. In addition, numerous studies show that being physically active in the outdoors and in connection with natural spaces provides added physical and mental health benefits. However, children only spend about one percent of their free time outdoors. Park prescription programs have been introduced as a preventative health practice in many states and cities around the country to help address this concern. Pittsburgh Parks Rx aims to provide a local framework for healthcare professionals to encourage kids to get outside, be active, and connect with nature.
Dr. Peduzzi describes how the Parks Rx program will work in her office:
At the Allegheny office of Pediatric Alliance, we are thrilled to be a Pilot Site for Pgh Parks Rx. We will be talking with families about the significant health benefits of getting children out into the parks and nature. Many people do not realize that there is scientific evidence that spending time in nature can do things like decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure, and help children with ADHD concentrate better. The Parks Rx is targeted to kids 3-12 years of age — although we want everyone to visit the parks! — so families can expect to hear about the program specifically at well child visits at these ages. At other times that they visit the office, they will see the beautiful posters that the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy has developed and learn more about the variety of ways kids can get outside and enjoy all our Parks have to offer.
Find a park near you and get going! Remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen!
*** Pediatric Alliance — Allegheny is located on Pittsburgh’s North Side at 490 E. North Ave., Suite 207. Call (412) 930-0908 for an appointment with Dr. Peduzzi.