Applaud Doctors for Using Nature to Heal Patients


Target: Dr. Robert Zarr

Goal: Applaud Dr. Robert Zarr for prescribing nature to patients to improve their overall well-being

Since July 1, 2013, doctors in the Washington D.C. area have written more than 500 prescriptions for their patients. Not to take pills, but to spend time with nature in D.C.’s 350 parks. It is all part of D.C. Park Rx, a plan to get doctors to treat common childhood disorders like obesity or ADHD by connecting kids to the outdoors. Dr. Robert Zarr should be applauded for spearheading these efforts.

Dr. Zarr is a board-certified primary care pediatrician who has been treating children at a Washington D.C. area community health center for the last 12 years. Dr. Zarr also heads the D.C. Park Rx program and has been its biggest advocate. Getting kids out into parks on a regular basis is a good way to combat obesity, because it gets them active and away from sedentary habits like watching television or playing video games—habits that can often contribute to weight gain. Similarly, studies have shown that kids who spend a lot of time in nature have longer attention spans than kids who spend more time indoors. Therefore, spending time in city parks may also be a good way of treating mental disorders like ADHD. City parks are free to visit and do not contain adverse side effects like many commonly prescribed medications.

According to Dr. Zarr, his peers in the medical field have “embraced Park Rx with open arms because [they] are all ready for a positive approach to chronic disease that poses virtually no risk, but both prevents and treats our modern day plagues like obesity, asthma, and mental illness.” Sign the petition below to let Dr. Zarr know that you value the work he is doing.


Dear Dr. Zarr,

I was excited to learn about the D.C. Park Rx program and wanted to let you know that I truly value the work you and your peers are doing. Many of our children fight common afflictions like obesity and mental illness on a daily basis. Treating these kids by giving them prescriptions to spend time with nature in various Washington D.C. area parks is a great idea. Getting kids into nature helps them to be more active, taking them away from many of the sedentary, obesity-causing habits they may be developing at home. As you know, children who spend time outdoors on a regular basis have improved concentration, making physician-prescribed park time a great option to treat ADHD.

As these child patients heal, they should also garner a greater appreciation for the beauty and necessity of nature. So, in addition to treating these children, you and your peers are also raising a new generation of potential environmentalists who will care for our natural surroundings. I sincerely thank you for all the work you have done, and urge you to continue to develop and promote eco-friendly healing methods.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: National Park Service via Wikimedia Commons

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