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Benefits of the Back to School Check-Up

back to school

Whether we like it or not, summer is winding down. For families everywhere that means getting ready to go back to school. As you begin to tick items off your back-to-school check list, don't forget to check in with your child's pediatrician.

An annual physical is recommended for children of every age. If your child plays sports, a physical exam will likely be required. The annual check-up also serves as a good way to stay on top of your child's immunization schedule.

Regular exams also provide invaluable continuity, allowing your pediatrician to monitor your child's height, weight, hearing, vision, and more. Often, if a child is experiencing problems with her vision or hearing, it goes unnoticed until an annual exam If not for a checkup, a child may not speak up, leaving the issue undetected.

The physical also gives parents and doctor a chance to discuss diet and exercise. With the rise of obesity and increasing rates of diabetes, it's important for your pediatrician to track changes in both weight gain and loss. Regular exams allow your pediatrician to better detect emerging problems and stay informed on your child's progress and development over time.

For teenage patients, it's also an important time to address issues such as drinking, smoking, drugs, depression and sexual activity. Annual visits are opportunities for doctors to provide wellness guidance and advice.

A developmental assessment is part of the physical examination up to the age of 5, evaluating your child's physical, emotional and social growth, as well as motor development. This also helps determine your child's school readiness and if the skills, attitude, and knowledge necessary for success in school are present. Your doctor will measure these milestones through your child's adolescence.

Annual checkups provide time for your pediatrician to learn your family's medical history and if there are any concerns that could potentially impact your child's future. This information can be critical in how your child's doctor treats and diagnoses any illnesses or chronic conditions.

In addition to the medical benefits to an annual physical, there are also some good emotional reasons to schedule your child's check-up. With each visit, the relationship between you, your child and your pediatrician grows. Although checkups start out with the parent being the main contributor to the conversation, it eventually transitions to being more of a one-on-one between the pediatrician and the child. This is critical to building your adolescent's understanding of and control over his or her own health needs and knowing how to best take care of them into the future.

To find a doctor for your child or yourself, visit our website.

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