A scoping review of nature prescriptions offered by healthcare providers

Whitlee Migl, Haley Mathis, Matthew Spencer, Ruby Hernandez, Jay E. Maddock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Over the last two decades, several studies have linked connectedness with nature to positive health outcomes such as lowered blood pressure, stress, and various diseases, decreases in anxiety, and increases in self-esteem and mood. However, time spent in nature is limited throughout the world. Prescriptions provided by a healthcare provider may be one pathway to increase time spent in nature. This scoping review aimed to identify what healthcare professionals are prescribing nature, who the prescriptions are written for, what is being prescribed, and the quality of the existing studies on nature prescriptions. Methods: This scoping review was conducted following the framework established by Arksey and O'Malley, with the addition of the PRISMA-ScR checklist as a guideline. Three bibliographic databases and Google were searched. All results were blindly screened using inclusion criteria. Two reviewers screened all titles and abstracts; a third was used if necessary. Studies were included if they were a nature prescription prescribed by a healthcare professional, published in English only, and contained full text. Results: Initially, 7,429 abstracts and titles were reviewed. After deduplication, 3,141 studies remained for abstract screening. A total of 196 articles were reviewed during full-text screening, of which 12 studies were included. This scoping review identified seven of the studies as nature prescriptions prescribed by a healthcare professional for adults and five for children. Illustrating an excellent representation for such few available studies. Nearly all 12 articles were based on different types of nature prescriptions. Prescriptions ranged from nature-based therapy (NBT) to outdoor physical activity and more, resulting in seven target health outcome themes. Conclusions: This scoping review has provided evidence that there are opportunities for healthcare professionals to identify target health outcomes that can be addressed using a nature prescription. It also encourages healthcare professionals to begin prescribing nature to patients, allowing them to experience these positive health outcomes nature provides. Research on nature prescriptions prescribed by healthcare professionals needs to be more extensive. This provides an opportunity for more studies to provide a deeper understanding of nature's health benefits, increase the number of nature prescriptions being prescribed, and build a more comprehensive body of knowledge on nature prescriptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Public Health and Emergency
StatePublished - Jun 25 2024


  • health
  • healthcare professionals
  • Nature
  • prescriptions
  • Rx

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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