Potential Opposition

Workshop participants were asked to identify entities that might oppose incorporating outdoor recreation into health care.

  • One potential concern is the pharmaceutical industry, which is dependent on treatments rather than prevention and which has a significant amount of political and economic power. People who became healthier via outdoor recreation could decrease their use of medication. Were clinicians to use park prescriptions or prescribe time outside as a tool for improving health instead of prescribing medications, the industry’s ability to make money could be adversely affected, which in turn could incentivize its opposition.
  • Current recreationists may also oppose the use of the outdoors as a healthcare tool because of concerns that increased use could lead to overcrowding on trails. Workshop participants noted the importance of carefully considering infrastructure carrying capacity when implementing programs designed to get more people outdoors for their health, as well as the need to make infrastructural investments when the carrying capacity is inadequate to support increased use.
  • Skepticism as a Result of Limited Data: Some key stakeholders remain skeptical of the health benefits of the outdoor recreation because data is limited and research is still emerging. Workshop participants noted the importance of adequate funding and resources for researchers and data collection that in turn provides more evidence for the health benefits of the outdoor recreation as a way to turn skeptics into supporters. 

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