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Sat. Jul 20th, 2024

Physical exercises for children: always a good idea

By Vaseline Jun10,2024


physical exam

physical exam

When the calendar turns to summer, parents begin making plans for back to school.

Children who participate in certain classes or participate in sports must have a physical examination performed by a health care provider.

But Luis Garcia, MD, a pediatrician with OSF HealthCare, says it’s smart to schedule checkups annually.

He says that regardless of grade level, children need to be physically and mentally healthy to thrive in the classroom. A physical exam can also identify conditions that need to be monitored while children are at school, such as asthma, diabetes or an allergy.

“If that is the case, there are forms that we give parents to school,” says Dr. García. “It’s an advanced guideline on what to do if there are concerns.”

Who to see, what to expect

A good first step is to call your child’s pediatrician early in the summer, as there may be a long wait for an appointment. With a deadline of the end of August, Dr. Garcia that any qualified provider with experience in child development can perform a physical exam. So don’t wait.

If your child requires sports physiotherapy, the provider must have experience with musculoskeletal disorders in children. A simple phone call to your provider’s office should answer this question. But Dr. Garcia reminds you that one physical test for athletic requirements and one for classroom requirements can be taken at the same time.

“A physical sport looks more at the physical state of health,” as opposed to mental health, explains Dr. Garcia out. “The heart, the lungs, a history of concussions. Things that could endanger the child while playing.

“Sports physical examination is also important to determine if there is a risk of a problem, even if the child does not have a specific condition.”

Parents should come to their child’s hospital and write down key points from their child’s health history, especially if this is your first time seeing a healthcare provider. These include vaccinations and serious injuries, surgeries or other health problems. Also write down any questions you have.

“The more information, the better,” says Dr. García.

The exam itself covers pretty much everything:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heartbeat
  • Examination of the eyes, ears, nose, throat, neck, spine, abdomen and legs
  • A check of the lungs with a stethoscope for possible breathing problems
  • A study into the child’s eating, sleeping and exercise behavior

Dr. Garcia says a health care provider will also check the child’s private area and, for young women, ask about their menstrual cycle. He says irregularities could indicate a problem in the endocrine system or other problems such as a hernia.

Parents can help their child prepare for this by explaining that the provider is a trusted, nonjudgmental adult.

“It starts with trying to build a good relationship with our patients. Explain to them that this is part of a regular physical exam,” says Dr. García.

The appointment should generate the forms necessary to fulfill school requirements. The provider will also talk about follow-up appointments, both regular and with a specialist, and what the family can do at home to keep their child healthy.

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