With the growing public health issue of obesity and its associated health consequences, a greater emphasis has been placed on exercise as a method of disease management and risk reduction. Outdoor (green) spaces such as parks or zoos are excellent locations for people to engage in exercise while feeling a part of their community. Consequently, many physicians are interested in, or have given out exercise referrals (prescriptions) to green spaces for their patients. However, there are logistical and systemic challenges that parks face in regard to these exercise referrals. This purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of the support that parks require in order to meet the needs of patients with exercise referrals. An electronic, 40-item questionnaire was sent out to all Metro Park employees. The response rate was 99 participants, which was lower than desired 200-employee goal. Descriptive analysis revealed that most of the respondents lacked the knowledge, skills and/or resources to assist those with green exercise prescriptions. In regard to supporting those with exercise referrals, employees felt that being able to provide park/trail informational materials would be the most beneficial logistical resource. Additionally, employees lacked an essential connection with the clinical community on the topic of exercise referrals. As a result of these findings, it is evident that there is a need for health care providers to communicate with park employees so that they can better serve those with exercise referrals. Providing the necessary logistics may increase the use and effectiveness of green prescriptions.
Green spaces such as parks or zoos are excellent locations for people to engage in exercise while remaining in their communities; consequently, many physicians are motivated to provide patients with green exercise prescriptions. However, parks face myriad challenges in supporting green prescriptions. This purpose of this study is to identify elements of support that parks require to meet the needs of patients with green prescriptions. All Metro Park employees received an online survey; 99 respondents completed all items. Results included that respondents lacked knowledge, skills and/or resources to assist clients with green prescriptions. Park employees identified provision of park/trail informational materials as the most beneficial logistical resource. Use and effectiveness of green prescriptions might be improved by encouraging providers to communicate directly with park employees.