Health Providers

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.  Research shows that the best way to promote activity is to get children outdoors.

Primary Care Providers (PCPs) are poised to create change by providing effective counseling during primary care visits, but many providers have reported a lack of training or resources to provide counseling that is personalized, local, and specific.

 Our project aims to help providers overcome barriers to adopt a novel practice, involving the use of a new clinical toolkit designed to enhance provider efforts to counsel patients.

Clinical Workflow 

Our clinical workflow begins with patients receiving a screening questionnaire upon their arrival to the clinic. The screening tool our team created is used to categorize patients as low-risk or high-risk for sedentary lifestyle.

Using the screening questionnaire, providers are encouraged to provide a universal counseling message about outdoor recreation to patients who are low-risk (with message printed in After Visit Summary), and to provide a more intensive counseling message to patients who identified as being high-risk.

More intensive counseling includes: (a) an activity prescription bolstered by (b), the distribution of Patient Family Education (PFE) materials, as well as (c) the introduction to our website, and (d) the referral to a Nature Navigator, a community health worker who counsels patient families after their clinic visit to help them adhere to activity prescriptions

Impact and Importance

  • NaturePHL’s counseling messages help to promote healthy lifestyles. By prescribing increased outdoor activity and time in nature,  PCPs are helping patient families maintain a healthy weight and improve mental and physical wellbeing.
  • We believe our NaturePHL toolkit helps PCPs to more effectively and efficiently provide counseling on the benefits of increased physical activity - as these resources did not exist before.
  •  Our goal of helping Philadelphia’s children and families achieve better health through outdoor time aligns with that of many healthcare organizations : achieving the best possible health outcome for every patient. Our use of the medical record system to allow PCPs to counsel families on the benefits of increased outdoor activity improves the health outcomes of a patient population.
  • Increased outdoor activity and time in nature can help children avoid obesity-related health disorders, such as diabetes and hypertension. It can also help improve focus and concentration in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Implementing these counseling messages in primary care is preventive and will help reduce the need for medication and care in the future.


In the News

CHOP Primary Care Pediatricians Prescribe Outdoor Activity with NaturePHL Program

CHOP Primary Care Pilots " Nature Prescription " Program 

Doctors Prescribe Outdoor Activity with NaturePHL Program 

The latest prescription for children: Go play outside 

Pediatric Reflections: Back to Nature, Back to Health 



Primary Care Perspectives: Episode 17- NaturePHL: Improving Kid's Health with Outdoor Play

2nd Annual Planet Philadelphia Environmental Radio Show w/ Michelle Kondo of NaturePHL



Prescribing Nature in Philadelphia

Health, Education, and Play: A Conversation with Philadelphia's Commissioner of Parks and Recreation

The Nature Navigator: NaturePHL's Innovative Use of a Traditional Healthcare Role








NaturePHL is a collaboration of: