Why Wellness Exams are Critical for Kids
Wellness exams are an essential part of managing ongoing health. For kids, they are especially critical. That is why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a specific schedule for wellness exams for children. They also note that some children with developmental, psychosocial or chronic disease may need to be seen by a pediatrician more frequently. Annual wellness examinations should continue through age 18, at which point they “graduate” and begin seeing an adult primary care provider.
Yet, after the first five years, some kids stop visiting the pediatrician except in times of illness, which creates a disruption in their continuity of care. Only visiting a pediatrician when sick eliminates the opportunity to identify complex medical issues that may require further care. Wellness examinations are instrumental to the healthy development of a child. They are much more than checking the weight, height, and vision of a child.
What is a Pediatrician Checking During a Wellness Exam?
- Height, weight, and head circumference (in infants) to assess growth and measure BMI (in adolescents)
- Age-specific immunizations
- Blood pressure and heart rate
- Physical examination
- Vision and hearing screening
- Risk assessment for conditions such as anemia, lead, Tuberculosis, STDs
- Assessment of diet and sleep as well as psychosocial factors such as tobacco, alcohol, and drug use, depression
- Screening for autism and development
In pediatric practices that offer it, nutrition and behavioral health counseling is available to help families address concerns before they become bigger problems. Pediatric providers also provide education to children to help instill healthy habits for life.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a pediatrician is the ability to watch children grow from infancy to adulthood. They look forward to the strong connections they can make with their families and look forward to seeing their “kids” each year.
“I enjoy watching my patients grow and change over the years,” said Rainbow Pediatrics founder Taner Esensoy. “Being in practice so long allows me to treat second-generation kids, which is very special to me.”
The summer is an excellent time for wellness examinations. It is also a perfect time to get a sports physical for the coming school year. If your child is due, contact their pediatric provider today and schedule a wellness examination.