Why Back to School Health Exams are Important

By CNN News Wire

Published 08/06 2014 08:38AM

Updated 08/06 2014 08:39AM

If your children are heading back to school, make sure they get a check-up.  We'll look at the importance of the annual exam.

Back-to-school is often a time when parents think about getting their kids to the doctor for their annual wellness exam. 

A pediatrician can address issues in children- not just physical, but social and emotional ones too. 

Grace Krugler prepared to enter kindergarten, but not before a visit to the doctor.

Grace is having her hearing tested, along with her vision.

"Those can affect the way a child performs in school," explains pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.  "If you just send them into the classroom without that eye screen, they can have problems seeing the board, they can have problems reading their work and really have problems with their grades in school also."

Dr. Shu says a 5-year-old well check includes assessing the child's physical condition, but also things like:
"Are they mature enough to listen to directions?  Can they sit in the seat?"

Grace's older brother, Jack, is also in for his annual exam.  Jack plays baseball.  And though many children who play sports get a physical through school, Shu says having a medical 'home' is important.
"The pediatrician will have your records- what was your height, what was your weight, what was your blood pressure, and they're gonna be able to pick up on any red flags."

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends every child get a physical exam every year.

Shu says this visit allows doctors to address issues such as nutrition, physical activity and sleep, along with social and emotional issues.

(Holly Firfer for CNN's Health Minute)

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