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The country where doctors can prescribe going to the park

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The country where doctors can prescribe going to the park

In Canada there is a program called Parks Prescriptions (or PaRx) which aims to improve patients’ health through contact with nature. And for over 1 year (from January 31, 2022) doctors from the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba can prescribe people to go to the park for 20 minutes a day and for at least 2 hours a week, also giving free access tickets to the National Parks thanks to the agreement signed with Parks Canada.

The country where doctors can prescribe going to the park for 20 minutes a day

Many might think that prescribe a patient to spend 20 minutes a day, a couple of hours a week, in close contact with nature It’s not really something that has to do with medicine. But Parks Prescriptions is a program that started spontaneously and bottom-up in the USA about ten years ago and there is now numerous scientific evidence of the benefits of direct contact with nature (for example collected in the meta-analysis A historical and critical analysis of Park Prescriptions published in Journal of Leisure Research). Starting obviously with the experience of Dr. Robert Zarr of the Upper Cardozo Health Center in Washington, DC it is estimated that there are currently over 70 nature prescription programs in 32 of the American states.

Obviously contact with nature is not the medicine for every ailment. But in cases of hypertension, anxiety, depression and also other pathologies linked to overweight or poor nutrition, the Parks Prescriptions program has shown that it can work and ensure concrete and long-lasting results.

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But what does the prescription consist of? Obviously in the advice of spending the expected time immersed in the nature of the Canadian National Parks, but also in the possibility of turn in your Parks Canada Discovery Passthe annual pass for all the country’s national parks costing 72 Canadian dollars (50 euros), for patients who cannot afford it.

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