Why your child's annual check-up is so important
Health care providers not only want to cure their patients when they’re sick, but keep them healthy long-term.
That's why annual check-ups, sometimes called well child visits or health maintenance exams, are an important opportunity for primary care providers and families to evaluate a child's growth and address any health concerns together.
"Prevention is a big part of providing primary care, so we’re valuable partners to keep your child healthy," said Dr. Jennifer Groos, who practices at Blank Children’s Pediatric Clinic.
At an annual check-up, a child's vital signs and growth will be measured and the medical and immunization history will be reviewed. Then, a health care provider will give the child a full physical exam. Families will also have time for questions and to discuss any issues.
If your provider is a 5-2-1-0 Registered Health Care Site, that clinic may have had additional training on how to support your family in living a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the Healthy Habits Questionnaire may be used to assess the child's habits around healthy eating, activity levels, screen-time and juice/soda consumption and then start a respectful conversation about your family's healthy living goals.
"Changes in kids' health can be subtle when you see them every day so its good to touch base," said Dr. Groos, adding that providers are able to help partner with families to help them reach their healthy habit goals.
RESOURCES: Get 5-2-1-0 resources for health care sites
It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics that kids have an annual visit between ages 3-18 and more frequently before the age of 3. Dr. Groos encourages families to visit whenever is convenient to them, whether it is during back-to-school time, around the child's birthday or another time.
See 5-2-1-0 in action at Iowa health care clinics: