Doctors to prescribe the outdoors to combat childhood obesity in new Mass. program

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The Appalachian Mountain Club and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children are launching a novel effort to combat child obesity by prescribing visits to a glittering pond, a colorful arboretum, or some other outdoor location.

The AMC and the hospital unveiled Outdoors Rx on Wednesday, which they said is the first program of its kind that allows health care professionals to prescribe outdoor activity to children in hopes of fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, and asthma.

“One of the limitations of our classic medical model is we are very reactive,” said Christina Scirica, a pulmonologist and obesity expert who is the program’s coordinator at the hospital. “We treat these ailments with medication, many of which have side effects that we would like to avoid.

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