KIDS’ HEALTH

Seventy-two percent of parents feel that their kids have less unstructured time when compared to their own childhoods, according to a recent survey commissioned by GoGo squeeZ.

What people often don’t realize is play has a purpose,” says Dr. Robert Murray, pediatrician, author and child health expert, “and parents aren’t always aware of its full benefits.”

Why so little free time? Eighty-five percent of parents believe sports and activities lead to success, according to the survey.

“It’s the social and emotional interactions that are the important benefit, not the sport itself,” says Murray.

Try these strategies: Make errands interactive; keep toys that inspire creative play; let kids explore; grant kids control of their free time; and set an example by making your own free time.

COLD AND FLU

Ways to stay healthy during cold and flu season

Follow these three steps to help keep your family healthy all season long.

Wash hands: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends washing hands for 20 seconds. Try singing “happy birthday” twice and you’ll be good.

Tidy toilet bowls: ContinuousClean from Kohler is a factory-installed system housed in the toilet tank that dispenses a consistent dose of cleaner during each flush.

Launder towels and linens: For frequently used items like bed sheets and bath towels, wash in hot water or use the sanitize setting. Follow this by drying at the high-heat setting in order to kill any microorganisms.

HEALTHY RECIPE

Chicken Veggie Skewers

— 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

— 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

— 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

— Pinch of salt and pepper

— 1 and 1/2 peppers (yellow, red and green), chopped into bite-sized pieces

— 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic powder and Italian seasoning, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add bell peppers and chicken and, using tongs, toss until coated. Thread chicken and bell peppers onto skewers. Heat a large grill pan over medium heat. Add skewers to grill pan and cook until chicken is cooked through and peppers are tender, 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan. Plate skewers and serve with Stouffer’s Macaroni & Cheese. For additional ideas and inspiration for cooking with kids, visit Nestle’s Balance Your Plate.

BACK PAIN

Choose physical therapy for your back pain

Low back pain (LBP) has become so pervasive it’s considered the leading cause of disability worldwide.

An active treatment plan from a physical therapist can help you improve your mobility while managing your pain.

Three reasons to choose physical therapy for your back pain:

— Physical therapists help you help yourself. They empower you be an active participant in your own treatment.

— Physical therapy is a safe and effective alternative to opioids. While doctor­-prescribed opioids are appropriate in some cases, choosing a safer alternative, like physical therapy, eliminates the risk of misuse and avoids the potential negative side effects. Your physical therapist will set realistic expectations for recovery, with or without opioids.

— Physical therapy is cost effective. Research shows patients with LBP who consult physical therapists early in their treatment processes incur lower out­-of-­pocket medical costs.

For more information, visit MoveForwardPT.com.

— Brandpoint