The Leave No Child Inside movement spurred by Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder has gotten a lot of attention from politicians, educators, and parents. As Derek wrote last year, “human beings need, on a basic, primal level, the therapeutic value of an ongoing relationship with nature.”
In Ohio, one doctor recognizes the importance of outside time so much that she actually prescribes it to her patients.
There is strong support for the Leave No Child Inside movement in Ohio. Recently, Governor Ted Strickland signed the Ohio Children’s Outdoor Bill of Rights, a “non-binding proclamation” declaring “outdoor playtime is a fundamental need for toddlers, ‘tweens, teens, and others who are young at heart”.
As part of its efforts to get children outside, the Ohio Leave No Child Inside Coalition applauded Dr. Wendy Anderson-Willis in a rally last week. The Columbus Dispatch reports:
The Ohio coalition yesterday also recognized Dr. Wendy Anderson-Willis, a pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, for her efforts that include giving many of her patients prescriptions to play outside for at least an hour each day and her involvement in the Walk with a Doc program.
“I think it’s the right of every child to play outside and it’s the job of the adults to create a world where this is possible,” Anderson-Willis said.
In addition to playing outside, her advice to patients and their parents: eat five fruits and vegetables a day; drink mostly water; and cut back on screen time.
I think if more doctors prescribed outside time for their patients, parents may actually take this recommendation seriously. In fact, school’s would have to honor the prescription in the same manner they do ADD drugs like ritalin.