When it comes to improving the health of children, can a walk in the park be as good as a pill? A growing number of American physicians are betting on it.
“I prescribe nature to patients because it is the easiest way for me to get people outside,” declares Robert Zarr, a Washington, D.C. pediatrician. The National Environmental Education Foundation has made it a mission to turn Zarr and other healthcare providers into “Nature Champions” who prescribe free-form outdoor exercise to their patients.
I listed the sorry state of U.S. inactivity in a previous post. And there’s more I learned at the national Walking Summit: most American adults spend 90% of their time indoors, 40% of them get no leisure-time physical activity, and their kids park in front of screens 7.5 hours a day. This has contributed to a doubling of the type 2 diabetes rate in the past fifteen years and the fact that one in three Americans—whether adult or child—weighs too much. Continue reading
We might wonder how one of the world’s leading biologists, E. O. Wilson, could say that video games are the future of education. But that he did, today on NPR’s Morning Edition. His blunt prediction: “We’re going through a rapid transition now. We’re about to leave print and textbooks behind.”
It was an extraordinary segment. Renowned electronic game designer, Will Wright, was the guest interviewer. He chose to talk to Wilson, whom Wright says has been a major influence on his career as designer of such blockbusters as Sim City and the evolution-depicting Spore. Wilson believes that video games can actually recreate teaching methods that adults used on kids at the dawn of humankind. “They went with adults and they learned everything they needed to learn by participating in the process,” Wilson said. Virtual reality games, Wilson says, can do the same thing. In Wilson’s vision, if a teacher wants to visit a tundra, the class can go to a tundra. A rainforest can be explored, canopy to floor, without one bug bite. Continue reading