Healthy Kids - Spring 2021


Keep in Touch Annual wellness exams are important — for kids of all ages DEVELOPMENT

“We check height, weight, hearing, vision, blood pressure—we make sure they are physically well overall and we can identify things that may have gone undiagnosed without an annual exam,” Dr. Breslow says, adding that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends continuing annual wellness exams for everyone ages 3–20. “As pediatricians, we offer a safe, nonjudgmental place to come get honest, factual information about your child’s health—not information you get off the internet or from your friends or what your parents told you 30 years ago. The best place to get this information is at an annual wellness exam.” Finally, for parents who may be concerned about taking their child for a well visit during the pandemic, Dr. Breslow offers reassurance: “There has been a general reluctance to come to a medical office this past year, but we want to reassure you that all of our offices are safe. Patients are screened prior to entrance; providers are screened to ensure they’re healthy and well for work; and the doctors, nurse practitioners and staff have been vaccinated. The offices are healthy and safe to visit.”

they do develop risky behaviors they won’t talk about with their parents but will share with their doctor. Pediatricians are adept at becoming advocates for young adults and opening up safe lines of communication so we can assess these behaviors, from sex to substance abuse to eating disorders.” In addition to assessing hormonal and behavioral changes during adolescence, pediatricians also provide mental health assessments to screen young patients for depression and other issues. They perform vaccinations for children ages 11–13 for HPV, meningitis, tetanus and whooping cough. They offer sports physicals, which involve a closer look at underlying heart and orthopedic issues that could be a concern for endurance athletes. And, of course, they cover all the basics.

IN THE FIRST FEW YEARS of a child’s life, parents often adhere to a strict schedule of pediatrician visits, tracking their baby’s progress and percentiles, keeping up with vaccines, and staying hyper-focused on their overall health. As the child ages, however, and reaches the tween and teen years, well-child visits often fall by the wayside. But the impor- tance of annual visits remains. Adam Breslow, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Children’s Primary Care Medical Group (CPCMG), explains why: “Parents often think that preteens and teenagers are at the healthiest point in their life and don’t need routine health care. That’s a myth.” “There are several basic things about tweens and teens that are different,” Dr. Breslow continues. “First, it’s a time of super-rapid growth, with changing hormones and sexual maturation. That’s something we pediatricians monitor. There are also a lot of behavioral factors at stake as kids get older. The reality is that teens may not have a lot of medical problems—the vast majority of deaths in that age group are from accidents and injuries, homicide and suicide—but

Teens can develop risky behaviors they won’t talk about with their parents but will share with their doctor ‘‘

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