If you think watching what’s on the screen is the only danger your kids face from TV (passive viewing can boost blood pressure of young’uns ages 3 to 8, and 3-year-olds who watch five hours of TV a day — some do! — are 28 percent more likely to have attention problems at age 7), you’re not with the entire program! Turns out, the set and what it’s resting on may be just as damaging. In the past 22 years, more than 380,000 kids younger than 18 (the median age was just 3) showed up in emergency rooms because they were injured by falling TVs. And there has been a 344 percent increase in reported injuries (flat screens are to blame, we bet) from 1995 to 2011!
So, for TV viewing safety, here’s our list of smart steps:
1. Limit screen time to two hours a day for kids 12 and younger. And never put a TV in a child’s bedroom. Lots of these injuries happen in kids’ rooms; besides it’ll disrupt study-time and sleep patterns.
2. Wall-mount flat screens; most come with that option. If you can’t, anchor the set to the top of the surface it’s on. You can buy kits and floor stands that clamp them securely. Make sure no amount of tugging or roughhousing can knock it over!
3. Best of all: Turn off the TV and head outside to play with your child. Run, skip rope, take a walk. If you make family activities a part of every day, you’ll all feel better.
Ever since homo sapiens started walking upright, we humans have had back pain. It accounts for 10 percent of all visits to primary-care doctors. Fortunately, for around 85 percent of you, it’s a temporary discomfort, and simple steps can get you up and moving comfortably again.
The current clinical guidelines for treating average back pain say you should stick with physical therapy and/or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen and the pain reliever acetaminophen. (Remember: Take them with lots of warm water!) Most folks can banish their discomfort within three months by using these two simple tools. But if you or your doctor push to do more and get faster results, you can end up on a merry-go-round of unneeded scans and drugs. This isn’t any good for you, and it drives up the cost of health care.
Now, we don’t want to see anyone with serious back issues denied the advantages of advanced medical screening, testing and treatments. But usually you and your doctor should first see if you can ease your pain with OTC medications, heat and/or ice, and physical therapy.
In addition, if your back pain is related to chronic stress, try meditation twice a day for 10 minutes (instructions are at sharecare.com). Extra weight also can cause back pain. We suggest you eliminate the Five Food Felons (no added sugar or sugar syrups, no saturated or trans fat, and no grain that isn’t 100 percent whole) and see how much better you feel as you lose weight.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.