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Back-To-School Physicals for Children and Teens

Monday, May 9, 2011

Think it's too early to start thinking about the next school year? Think again! Spring and summertime is when you should be scheduling your child’s back-to-school and sports physicals. The State Department of Public Instruction sets the wellness exam requirements for school age children, starting at the 4K level.

Back-To-School Physicals for Children and TeensAt this type of Well Child visit, your child’s physician will record your child’s height, weight, blood pressure, and conduct a physical exam and vision test. If your child is due for any vaccinations, Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) sports physicals, or other age-appropriate developmental screening questionnaires, those tests will take place as well. Your child’s back-to-school exam is not just a required appointment; it’s also the perfect time to discuss any other health and wellness concerns with your child’s doctor.

Specifically, an annual checkup allows the doctor to:

  • Conduct a thorough physical exam. In addition to measuring and assessing your child’s height, weight and head circumference, the doctor will examine his or her skin, eyes, ears, heart, lungs, and musculoskeletal and neurological development. The doctor also will review your child’s health history and update immunization records. 
  • Order screenings and tests. The doctor may prescribe vision and hearing tests. Other diagnostics may include a lead screening; a tuberculin test; a urinalysis; and tests to check for anemia, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. 
  • Update your plan for chronic conditions. Does your child have asthma, diabetes or another health concern? Review how you manage it. Have any symptoms changed? Discuss with the doctor how the condition affects your child emotionally and scholastically.
  • Promote healthy lifestyle choices. Does your child hound you for too much candy or fast food or battle you over computer time? Your doctor can explain the importance of healthful eating and suggest appropriate sports and physical activities. 
  • Tackle tough topics. It can be hard for parents to talk about alcohol or drug use, smoking, sexuality, depression and other difficult subjects. Your doctor can discuss injury and violence prevention and explain the changes of puberty—especially important for a middle-schooler or teen who seeks advice from peers and others outside your family.

Yearly physicals offer a chance for your child to build a trusting relationship with another adult and establish a lifetime of healthy habits. For more information about family wellness with Fort HealthCare, visit FortHealthCare.com/FamilyWellness.

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