76% of the Dutch people believe that doctors can prescribe nature visits as medical advice if it has been shown that this helps with certain health issues. This is the conclusion of a study by Kantar, commissioned by IVN.
The study states that more than half of the Dutch people interviewed would actually want to go out into nature more often. On average, Dutch people spend 115 minutes a week in nature. In the age category 18 to 54 years, they spend no more than 1 hour and 37 minutes.
In the study, ‘going into nature’ means all outdoor ways in leisure time: from city park, forest, to water areas. Own garden and sports fields do not count.
Nature For Health (NFH) has been advocating for years an active use of nature and landscape for health, also in health care, both curatively and preventively.
NFH welcomed the initiative on the Shetland Islands in Scotland, where doctors prescribe nature in some cases. There, a “nature prescriptions_calendar” has also been developed for this purpose.
NFH and partners are developing an initiative that focuses on the use of nature in parts of primary care. This initiative should, among other things, lead to more attention in health care for the use of nature, both among patients and care providers themselves.
It should also provide more insight into the effectiveness of certain nature and landscape types with regard to certain health problems, or in prevention. “Nature on doctor’s prescription” should ultimately be as focused and effective as possible.
NFH emphasizes that also medical care providers – a group with a growing number of health complaints – can directly benefit from prescribing more nature. For example in the context of “walking with the general practitioners (GP’s)”, as is already happening here and there in The Netherlands. In some cases, physiotherapists can also give treatments outside.