Prescribing Nature

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A walk in nature is good for you: A 2019 study found that more than two hours per week outside can improve a person’s general health and well-being,

Now, doctors and other licensed healthcare professionals in four Canadian provinces are providing “nature prescriptions” to their patients as part of the novel PaRX program, according to CBC.

As Canada’s first nature prescription program, PaRx aims to encourage Canadians to spend more time outdoors as a way to overcome anxiety and improve mental and physical health.

British Columbia’s Park Foundation, which originally launched the health initiative in 2019, recently partnered with Parks Canada to give doctors across four provinces an initial run of 100 passes to prescribe to patients.

As a result, healthcare workers registered with PaRX can offer their patients a Parks Canada Discovery Pass, which costs around $56 for an adult, free of charge. The program has urged doctors to prioritize passes to those who cannot afford them, NPR reported.

PaRx Director Melissa Lem told CBC that she hopes the prescriptions will facilitate access to nature for Canadians.

“We’re really asking them to prioritize patients who live close to Parks Canada sites so they’ll have more access and can make it part of their everyday lives, and also those for whom the cost of a pass might be a barrier to nature access,” she said.

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