Clinical trials into how ‘green prescriptions’ can help improve public health should be conducted by the Government, according to an association representing the UK’s parks.
The Parks Alliance (TPA) is calling a study into the value of green prescribing, which is where GPs refer patients to non-clinical sources of support such as doing physical activity.
TPA says parks have a key role to play in improving physical and mental health and supporting community cohesion.
Mark Camley, chairman of TPA, said: ‘We all know there is an obesity crisis in the UK and parks can offer a solution to get more people active. Public parks have always played a key role in sports with football pitches and tennis courts in public parks providing an outlet for generations of young people.
‘There are always new ways of engaging the young, for instance, park-wide wi-fi in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London has encouraged young adults to visit the park and as a result benefit from hidden, informal exercise.
‘The park, working with Intelligent Health on a mobile phone based initiative called Beat the Streets, has encouraged participants largely school children, to tap in to smart meters and gain points for walking between different points in the Park. The scheme is seeing over 1,000 miles per day walked by participants.’