How Often Should a Child Have a Physical Exam

Dr. Farizani
February 17, 2023
In the United States, over half of all children go to their doctor for an annual checkup. At a physical exam, your child’s healthcare provider will assess your child’s overall health and development.

Annual health checkups go back to the early 20th century when it was recommended for all children in the U.S. to have a medical examination each year. Today, physical exams help screen for potential health issues and monitor your child’s growth and development over time.

This blog will discuss what to expect at the doctor’s office when taking your child for a physical exam. We will also provide tips on how often they should occur to help ensure your child is receiving adequate preventive care.

Read on to learn more about the pediatric physical exam and how to help your child stay healthy.

What Happens During A Physical Exam?

During a physical exam, your child’s healthcare provider will review their medical history and perform tests to assess overall health.

Vital signs such as heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature will be taken. Depending on the age and specific needs, immunizations are to be administered during the visit.

Height and weight are subject to measurement to assess children’s growth and development.

In addition, hearing, vision, and other screenings may occur to identify potential health risks. These screenings are essential for preventive care and can help your doctor detect illness early on.

The primary health concerns screened for in physicals for children are, but are not limited to:

  • Nutrition
  • Allergies
  • Sleep Patterns
  • Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health
  • Developmental Milestones
  • Metabolic Disorders
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Cardiovascular Health

Your child’s doctor may also provide suggestions on nutrition, physical activity, sleep habits, and other factors that can affect overall well-being.

It is well-being to discuss any medical concerns or changes in behavior with your child’s doctor during this visit.

Why are Physicals Crucial to the Health of Our Children?

Physical exams are essential for a variety of reasons. They allow your healthcare provider to monitor the growth and development of your child, as well as detect potential health risks.

These routine visits allow infants and children to receive early diagnosis and timely intervention when necessary.

In addition, physicals provide an opportunity for parents to discuss any concerns they may have about their child’s health or behavior with their healthcare provider.

These visits also serve as a chance for providers to advise on nutrition, exercise, sleep habits, and other factors that affect overall well-being.

Back when medicine was undeveloped, physical exams were a luxury. Now, we realize that they are an essential part of preventive health care in children and should not be overlooked.

How Often Should My Child Visit The Doctor?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children have a physical exam every year.

However, the frequency of visits may depend on your child’s age and health needs. Your child’s healthcare provider can provide personalized recommendations on how often your child should call for a physical exam.

For example, the AAP recommends that children between the ages of one and five have physical exams every two years. In contrast, those over age six may only need to visit their pediatricians annually.

If you, as their guardian, notice any changes in your child’s health or behavior, you should report them as soon as possible so your doctor can assess the situation.

If your child is due for vaccinations, the doctor may recommend that those are given at least one month before physicals for kids.

Should I Opt For My Child to Have Additional Tests & Analysis?

Regarding additional tests, discussing concerns with your child’s doctor is essential. Your doctor will assess which tests are necessary and how often they should repeat based on your child’s needs.

It may be beneficial for your child to have additional tests or analyses if there is a family history of certain conditions.

For instance, if a parent has diabetes, then this could increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in their children as well. The doctor may suggest that blood sugar levels are subject to monitoring more closely or recommend fasting insulin testing every few years.

If your child has any persistent symptoms such as headaches, trouble sleeping, or difficulty with breathing, then tests may be ordered to rule out any underlying health problems.

What Happens if a Medical Issue is Detected?

If a medical issue has been detected, your child’s doctor will likely recommend specific treatments. They might advise lifestyle modifications to minimize the risk of future problems.

Depending on your child’s age, this may include:

  • Dietary Changes
  • Exercise Regimes
  • Counseling Services
  • Medication

It is also important to remember that even if no health issues were subject to discovery, regular visits are still important.

These visits allow healthcare providers to monitor changes in growth and development. They also help track potential risks associated with a family history or medical conditions. Children’s annual physical exams are essential for detecting illness early on.

If you have any questions about when your child should visit the doctor for a physical exam, consult your healthcare provider.

The Future of Health Is Secured Today

An annual physical exam is essential to preventive care for children and can help detect potential health risks early on.

Knowing what to expect during a physical exam and how often they should occur can help ensure your child receives adequate healthcare. Following these guidelines and practicing good hygiene habits can help keep your family healthy and safe.

Contact Hillcroft Physicians, P.A. if you’re interested in setting up a physical exam for your child at your convenience.

Dr. Farizani

Dr. Farizani created the medical and operational foundation of Hillcroft Physicians, PA., and expanded the clinic and its mission to become one of the largest small group practices in Houston. Dr. Farizani speaks English, Farsi, and Spanish.