Thursday, June 19, 2014

Health Physicals Aren’t Just for Grown Ups

Keeping up with annual physicals is important not only for adults but also for children. In many cases, annual physicals are actually required by schools or summer athletic programs before kids can even attend or participate. With summer camp season and the next school year approaching in a few months, parents are encouraged to schedule physicals or well checks with their child’s primary care provider.

There are several compelling reasons to make sure your child gets a physical or “well check” every year, or as often as directed by your doctor. During this examination, the care provider will:
  • Update immunizations
  • Discuss your child’s nutritional and sleep needs to ensure proper growth and development
  • Ensure that current growth and development is on track for their age
  • Perform a physical exam, which entails checking the heart and lungs, and other age and gender-specific checks (observing for curvature of the spine, checking blood pressure, performing breast or testicular exam, etc.)
  • Order any tests, depending on your child’s risk factors for conditions such as anemia or high cholesterol
What to expect during the office visit may be different for boys and girls and typically varies depending on age, as needs change over time.

Because physicals are often required well in advance of participation in sports and other activities, parents sometimes find themselves in a time crunch and feel rushed to get their kids’ physicals completed by a given deadline. Although some clinics can schedule physicals in a pinch, with a little bit of advanced planning, parents can get their child in to see their regular pediatrician or family medicine physician for these services. “If possible, it’s better for children to be seen by their regular doctor for the sake of consistency, familiarity and record keeping,” says Robin Motter-Mast, DO, GBMC Chair of Family Medicine. “To alleviate stress, we recommend that parents call and get these appointments on the calendar so that results will be available well before any program’s or school’s cut-off point.”

Is your child in need of a physical? Are you? Visit to find a primary care physician who is right for your family. To learn more about GBMC’s pediatric services, visit

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