Using Parks to Improve Children’s Health -- and Everyone Else's

In the October issue of Environmental Health Perspectives I have a feature on the growing parks-and-health movement. It addresses a) what we know about the relationship between parks, nature, open space, and greenery and mental and physical health (on everyone but with a particular focus on children, this being a special children's-health issue); b) what we still need to figure out and what's currently occupying researchers, including identifying mechanisms and measuring/defining doses; and c) how this relationship is being implemented in public health programs such as Healthy Parks Healthy People, an NPS-sponsored umbrella program, and dozens of smaller, almost grassroots local efforts.

The nation's most comprehensive, collaborative, and developed program is right here in the Bay Area -- called, fittingly, Healthy Parks Healthy People -- with the primary sponsors being the Institute at the Golden Gate, an NPS-affiliated nonprofit based in Sausalito, and the East Bay Regional Parks District. Another leader is the City of San Francisco itself, which is the first and so far only in the world to formally adopt the use of parks within its public health program.

Read the full story, which appears on the cover this month's issue, right here.