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Ask the Expert: Children’s Physicals

Now that it’s time for kids to head back to school, parents are wondering when, where, and how
often they need to take their kids to get a physical. In this “Ask the Expert,” Dr. Janet Geiger, a pediatrician at Baptist Medical Group-River City Pediatrics, talks about what to expect and why you should take your child for a check-up.

What is a physical?

What is a physical?

A physical is a visit when health history is obtained and a complete head-to-toe examination is done.

Why is it important for kids to get physicals before school?

Why is it important for kids to get physicals before school?

Annual physicals are done to screen for various health conditions, to ensure that each child is
growing and developing as expected and that s/he receives recommended immunization at the proper time, and to have the opportunity to address concern(s) a family may have regarding the child. While annual physicals are best scheduled around the time of a child’s birthday, many parents often think of these office visits as “school physicals” and plan the visit in the summer. This often creates a rush before school begins.

What do doctors check during kids’ physicals?

What do doctors check during kids’ physicals?

Doctors check height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate and calculate body mass index ‒ or BMI ‒ in older children, and perform a complete examination. Screening for diabetes, anemia and cholesterol may be done based on risk factors and family history.

How often should children get a physical?

How often should children get a physical?

Annually.

How long does a physical take?

How long does a physical take?

The exam part of a physical takes 10 to 15 minutes. Time spent discussing health history and
addressing concerns varies with each child.

How effective are physicals at finding serious issues?

How effective are physicals at finding serious issues?

A thorough discussion regarding medical history and a thorough exam can uncover serious
issues such as cardiac conditions that need attention and intervention.

Anything else you think parents need to know?

Anything else you think parents need to know?

Don’t delay scheduling your child’s annual physical. Plan it around the time of your child’s birthday to keep it simple to remember, or schedule it early in the summer.

We encourage each child to see his/her primary care provider for annual physicals. A child’s primary care provider knows the child best and has an established relationship with the family to address any chronic issues as well as new issues that need consistent follow-up.

If you’re looking for a primary care physician for your child, Baptist Medical Group has the following
five pediatric practices in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas:

Baptist Medical Group-Atoka Pediatrics
36 Capital Way #E
Atoka, Tennessee 38004
901-837-6801

Baptist Medical Group-Golden Triangle Internal Medicine and Pediatrics
2600 5th St N
Columbus, Mississippi 39705
662-244-2960

Baptist Medical Group-NEA Baptist Clinic
1150 E. Matthews #101
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401
870-972-5437

Baptist Medical Group-River City Pediatrics
6401 Poplar Ave #610
Memphis, Tennessee 38119
901-761-1280

Baptist Medical Group-Wolf River Pediatrics
6215 Humphreys Blvd #300
Memphis, Tennessee 38120
901-227-9521

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