School Health Examinations
School health examinations were begun years ago because parents, educators, and physicians all realized that healthy children learned more effectively than children with health problems. Earlier in this century, many children in the United States entered school without having had a health evaluation. Most children in this country today receive health care during their preschool years. Therefore, reevaluation of the concept of routine health exammations is now indicated because of changing health patterns in the United States and children's different health needs.
Ideally, every school child should have a complete physical examination and health evaluation every one to two years from his or her personal physician or source of ongoing medical care. Several things should be accomplished during this examination:
(1) interval health history; (2) head-to-toe health appraisal; (3) assessment of growth, development, and school progress; (4) mental health evaluation of the child and family; (5) assessment of immunization status; (6) health education and counseling for both parent and child; (7) evaluation for participation in athletics; (8) recommendations about the child's health needs.
Physicians may not be available for comprehensive health supervision in some rural and urban areas. Therefore, the Committee makes the following recommendations for health examinations required by schools.
1. Schools should require a complete physical examination for all children at least every three years.
2. Ideally, this physical examination should be done by the child's pediatrician or primary care physician. A school nurse, with physician backup, if trained in physical assessment skills, can do an assessment if no physician is available to conduct the examinations.
- Copyright © 1981 by the American Academy of Pediatrics