In South Carolina, Doctors Write Parks Prescriptions to Combat Obesity
Doctors can write a parks prescription for patients that gives free admission to one of South Carolina’s 30 state parks.
Soon, when an overweight South Carolina resident goes to the doctor, he or she might get more than some pills to lower blood pressure and a lecture on healthier eating. The patient might get a prescription for some much-needed exercise.
Prescription for Parks, as the program is known, is yet another experiment in encouraging Americans to be physically active. It’s a collaboration between the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism. The idea is remarkably simple: Doctors can write a parks prescription for patients that gives free admission to one of South Carolina’s 30 state parks. In addition to hiking, biking and a host of other available physical activities, the parks department has constructed self-guided workout trails that take people through a full exercise routine.
In a state where two-thirds of adults are obese or overweight, and where obesity-related health care costs have been projected to increase from $1.2 billion in 2009 to $5.3 billion by 2018, officials are willing to try anything. They don’t want to force changes—the “nanny state” isn’t too popular in a deeply conservative state like South Carolina—but they hope that a little nudge out the door and an opportunity to spend time in the great outdoors will help improve citizens’ lives.
It’s part of an overall strategy to combat obesity that includes putting healthy food in schools and asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prohibit food stamp recipients from spending their benefits on junk food, says Catherine Templeton, director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control. “It’s a very comprehensive and holistic attack on what makes people in South Carolina sick and what kills people the most.”
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
LATEST HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES HEADLINES
Jobs Training as Rehab3 days ago
GOP States Push Boundaries on Medicaid Expansion3 days ago
Can You Change How People Think About Government Aid?3 days ago
Obama Tries to End the Cycle of Broken Poverty Promises3 days ago
Jerry Brown Signs Strict New Vaccination Law4 days ago
Supreme Court Blocks Restrictions on Texas Abortions, for Now4 days ago