How to prepare for kids' back-to-school physicals

Posted at: 08/21/2013 1:55 PM
By: Erika Edwards, NBC News

Pediatrician offices are busy this time of year now that many schools require kids get a physical before the first day of school.

"It's really important to touch base with your pediatrician to make sure your child's health, weight and BMI is calculated," says Dr. Hansa Bhargava of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Those numbers give doctors a clue about your child's overall health and help them determine whether they need to gain or lose weight, or change their eating habits.

Blood pressure is another important measurement that signals whether your child has any hidden heart problems.

Testing a child's vision not only detects trouble seeing near or far,  but it could also hint at reasons behind behavioral and learning problems.

"In the classroom it may not be that the child recognizes that he has a vision problem, he may just act out or squint," Dr. Bhargava warns.

And while most vaccines are given during the infant and toddler years, not all school-age kids can avoid getting a shot.

There are also boosters given between 4 and 6, and then additional vaccines that happen between 11 and 12.

A lesson on preventive medicine, including healthy eating, exercise and adequate sleep could give the kids the instruction they need for an A+ year.