Growth Development and Annual Health Maintenance Exam

This article is sponsored by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center.

kids standing in front of wall. school and sports physical. Des Moines MomEvery year it is recommended that your child receive an annual health maintenance exam. These health exams are also used for your child’s enrollment in school, sports, and camps. And while these are routine checkups, they also help set your child up for success later in life.

Annual health maintenance exams are a great time for us to talk with kids about how to eat healthy foods, stay active, and make sure they’re drinking plenty of fluids and getting the right amount of sleep. These are all habits that if we can teach them young, they’ll carry over into the rest of their lives.

Yearly Physicals

In Iowa, yearly physicals are required by school districts to help ensure safety for students, especially those participating in sports. Before classes and extracurricular activities begin, it is important students receive a physical to make sure there are no underlying health issues that might interfere with participation, check their growth and development, and update their immunizations. These comprehensive physicals look at a student’s overall well-being, provide a space for them to ask any questions they may have, and help build relationships with your child’s primary care provider.

During an annual health maintenance exam, parents can expect:

  • Physical exam
  • Update immunization
  • Check growth and development
  • Review medical historySchool and Sports Physical

Students who are not in sports also need a yearly physical to monitor their development and overall health and wellness. To avoid getting hurt, your student needs to be prepared and knowledgeable about where they are in their growth and development and know that if they do have health questions, they have someone they trust to talk to.

Mental Check-Up

Annual physicals are for more than just the physical well-being of students. During these visits, students are also encouraged to discuss any emotional and psychological barriers they may be facing.

It’s a good time to connect with these students and make sure they feel connected and engaged outside of just the classroom. How are they feeling about the school year, how they’re interacting with their peers, and any screening or anticipatory guidance they may need.

Your child also follows your lead. If you make your health a priority, they will too as they get older. Be a role model for your children and visit your own primary care provider for your annual health maintenance exam.

About the Author

Dr. Sara SchutteSara Schutte-Schenck, DO, is a pediatrician seeing patients at MercyOne Ankeny Pediatrics Care. Dr. Schutte-Schenck has been with MercyOne for 28 years.






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This article is part of a series of sponsored articles by MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center

More Than a Maternity Provider: Midwives in Your Health Care

Things to Know After an Autism Diagnosis

The Basics of Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

When to See a Pediatric Cardiologist

Keep Your Kids Healthy During Cold and Flu Season


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