How to write a nature prescription for your family

More health professionals are prescribing the outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle. Here’s how to write your own—and how to get kids on board.

When Melissa Lem was a child, green spaces were an escape from the taunts of bullies in her Toronto neighborhood.

“It was in those green spaces—in my father's Chinese vegetable garden, in the park down the street, in the bushes and the trees on the edges of the school—that I felt most like myself and like I belonged,” she says.

Now as a family doctor, Lem is helping health practitioners and families lean into the mental, physical, and social healing effects of nature by writing “nature prescriptions” to get outside.

The concept of “nature deficit disorder”—the idea that a lack of access and time in green spaces can be harmful to kids’ health—has been around since 2005. That’s when Richard Louv,

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