The President, in a battle to fight childhood obesity and the declining use of national parks and rivers named that June will be the Great Outdoors Month. As a result of the recent outdoors movement doctors across the United States are prescribing outdoor activities to help Americans reconnect with the outdoors and to reduce child obesity rates. This surge in outdoor activities like camping, hiking, backpacking, and canoeing not only causes an increase in the number of Americans using parks but it also is helping to make people healthier. Many of the doctors that are encouraging the use of outdoor medication are doing so because they have realized that it has benefits even beyond getting people to exercise.
The doctor’s prescriptions are not just recommendations to go outdoors. Some doctors are including maps and lists of activities that patients can do when they go to parks. By providing lists of activities doctors are hoping to help people that don’t regularly use parks and thus might not know what to do once they get there. One thing that I also enjoy is that some health providers are on board with the doctor’s prescription and they are reimbursing patients for park entrance fees. When these health providers pay for park fees it makes parks more accessible to a wider range of people. Not only does the increase in activity help keep health care cost down for the provider and patients but it also truly has a benefit to a large amount of people.
I personally love this program and wish that I could get a doctors note to go fishing or hiking! The outdoors is our most precious resource and it saddens me that only a handful of people actually use it. By encouraging more and more people to use the outdoors we can provide better resources because revenues will increase and we can take better care of our aging park system. The program is helping to encourage kids to get out and play. Although video games and the internet are great sources of entertainment many people have taken their use too far. Some kids don’t even know about the outdoors and they aren’t aware of all the activities that they can do outside because they haven’t been exposed to them before. I blame parents for not showing their kids the outdoors. As a parent you are responsible for your child’s well being and if you just plop them in front of a computer or video game their lack knowledge about the outdoors causes great damage to the kids and future kids to come.
I think that everybody should spend at least one day a week in the outdoors for at least a few hours. Go fishing, take a hike, play baseball in the park, or just fly a kite.