Former first lady unveils new health initiative at Houston Methodist
Posted on 09/13/2016

October 19, 2016

Former first lady unveils new health initiative at Houston Methodist

In 2011, former first lady Laura Bush founded Taking Care of Texas in hopes of unifying the interests of conservation groups, businesses, schools, the scientific community, and faith-based organizations under one umbrella. 

Though the organization's name has since changed to Texan by Nature, its mission remains consistent: to establish a connection between health and nature. 

 

On Monday, Bush and Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO of Houston Methodist, hosted "A Natural Connection: Exploring Positive Outcomes in Health & Healing through Nature" at the hospital system's research institute. Programming covered various mechanisms in nature that produce positive physiological and psychological benefits. More than 250 statewide conservationists, business leaders, clinicians, and researchers attended the first in an ongoing symposia which will focus on bringing awareness of natural resource issues to new audiences in both rural and urban areas. 

"Children today spend half as much time outdoors as children did 20 years ago, yet they spend nearly eight hours per day using entertainment media," Bush reportedly said after speaking about her own early connections to nature. "This has a significant impact on our state's growing obesity rate, now the fifth highest in the nation for high school students."

In fact, she continued, today's children may be the first generation with a life expectancy shorter than their parents.

Several speakers followed to emphasize that nature has the power to reduce stress, soothe mental health conditions, combat obesity, and more.

"We know that nature is restorative and stress-relieving," said Boom in closing. "A healthy and vibrant environment play an important role in keeping our communities vibrant."

 

By Amber Elliott of the Houston Chronicle, Tuesday, September 13, 2016