Back to School, Back to the Doctor 1/27/2017 The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends an annual check-up for children from age two to 18. These provide a good opportunity for parents and doctors to talk about development and behavioral issues the children may be facing. While it may not seem urgent, a yearly physical exam by your family's pediatrician is an important part of your child's health care. Children involved in school athletic programs often receive a sports-specific exam through the school. These exams are good at screening for potential athletic health problems but school sports physicals are not a substitute for a general physical performed by the pediatrician. Mass physicals are not as detailed or in-depth as a pediatrician's exam. That detail includes immunization records. A school exam will generally include a check box asking whether all vaccinations are up-to-date, requiring the parents to remember whether or not they are. Our office will have accurate records as well as the most up to date information on required boosters or new vaccines available. The annual pediatric exam also offers the doctor time to provide wellness guidance and advice. This has become critical as the nation wrestles with the childhood obesity epidemic. In addition to monitoring heart and blood pressure and testing for diabetes, pediatricians can use this annual visit with your child to discuss diet and exercise options. We can talk with the child and the parents about safe approaches to transitioning from little or no exercise to a sound, achievable exercise program. Whatever the child's interest � sports, academics, the arts � we want to be sure that the interest is a healthy one, and that it's balanced with the other aspects of the child's life. A healthy childhood and adolescence calls for balancing home life, school, social activities, sports, and extracurricular pursuits. This is not easy, especially during a time when the child is passing through the years of growth, learning, exploration, and emotional and physical development. Which is all the more reason to set aside one day during each of those years for your child to see the pediatrician. Please call our office at (816) 941-6400 to schedule your child's well-child exam today!