Pittsburgh Parks Rx To Encourage Kids To Get Outdoors

Dec 23, 2015

Pictured is Frick Park, a park in the East End of Pittsburgh.
Credit Kim Bentley / FLICKR

A new program promising to encourage local children to be more physically active in city parks is slated to roll out in the new year.

Now 18 months in the works, Pittsburgh Parks Rx tasks trusted adults, or “prescribers,” like teachers, school nurses and instructors at community organizations with giving out guides to local parks, animals and leaves.

Gavin White, community outreach coordinator for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, said the pamphlets are meant to encourage kids to get out and get moving.

“We think that by getting support and by getting this message from their teachers, from their parents, from the community care centers — all these sort of professionals who people respect in their daily lives — that’ll be a really strong way to reinforce the message that parks are free and fun and healthy,” White said. 

White suggested adults join kids outdoors.

“A lot of people have issues with excessive screen time and sitting down all the time," he said. "It's really important. We sometimes forget, especially in a city that being outside and moving around is an integral part of health, just like when your sick and need some medicine.

“Everybody needs to take a little bit of a parks prescription,” he said.

The program is a partnership of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Children’s Hospital of UPMC, public schools in Lawrenceville and several community groups.