Reducing Childhood Obesity Through Coordinated Care: Development of a Park Prescription Program

Benefits studied:
Uses studied:
Place: Miami-Dade County


In Miami-Dade County, Florida, researchers evaluated the structure of a pilot project connecting children, families, and their pediatricians to a park-based afterschool program. This study describes important factors encouraging ongoing support from participating families and pediatricians, as well as ways to measure the effectiveness of prescription parks programs.


This study is relevant for those interested in designing a prescription park program in their community, particularly a program originating in the medical or research community. By outlining an effective prescription park program, this pilot may be helpful in convincing medical providers to participate.


This study is based in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

Trail Type

The study is based in 35 public parks in Miami-Dade County.


The purpose of this study is to demonstrate an effective and sustainable pilot test of a low-cost childhood obesity prevention program that involves formal coordination between pediatricians, families, and children.


  • Pediatricians participating in this pilot report the two factors most helpful for their effective participation are an easy, integrated referral process and receiving follow-up “report cards” on patient performance to keep them engaged.
  • Participating children and their parents found it helpful for children to be engaged daily. Parents are more likely to remain engaged with the program when it is supported by their pediatrician.


The authors offered this pilot program to children between the ages of 6 and 14 with a body mass index (BMI) in the 85th percentile or above or with other risk factors for Type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular diseases. The program runs daily after school during the school year and includes an hour of physical activity.

Children enrolled in this program are assessed every three months with height and weight, waist and hip circumference, blood pressure, physical fitness, and mental health measures.  A software program designed for this program integrates these assessments and provides the children’s pediatricians with a “report card” to review every three months.

This study reports the results of a 50-person pilot study.


Messiah, S.E., Jiang, S., Kardys, J., Hansen, E., Nardi, M. and Forster, L., 2016. Reducing childhood obesity through coordinated care: Development of a park prescription program. World Journal of Clinical Pediatrics 5(3): 234.