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Back to School Wellness Exams

As summer ends and school starts, several things must be completed before your child’s first day. A back-to-school physical or an annual wellness exam is something you should add to your back-to-school checklist.

What to expect

Annual wellness exams vary based on the child’s age, but the provider will typically:
  • Complete a physical exam, including height and weight
  • Check blood pressure, vision, and hearing
  • Complete blood tests and cholesterol checks, depending on the child’s age
  • Ask about your child’s development (speech, communication skills, motor skills, etc.), nutrition, exercise, and sleep habits
  • Screen for anxiety and depression in adolescents
  • Review your child’s medical history & vaccination status
  • Supply age-appropriate safety information & health education
  • Observe the standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (APP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)


To help avoid the spread of diseases and keep kids of all ages healthy, your child must get vaccinated. Your child’s annual wellness exam is a great time to ensure they are updated on their immunizations.

Sports Physicals

Your child’s annual wellness visit is the perfect time to make sure your child gets their sports physical completed. Any issues related to exercise, such as injuries, nutrition, training, and exercise programs, are addressed during this time. Sports physicals also serve as a time for important discussions regarding concussions and female athlete concerns, such as menstrual changes.

These exams are an important part of keeping children healthy because they screen for:
  • Family health conditions
  • Heart conditions
  • Joint and bone conditions

How to Prepare for Your Visit

Ensure you have your school district’s required health forms ready for the appointment. If your child is getting a sports physical, please also bring that form. Additional medical records may be needed if your child has medical conditions requiring management during the school day. This could include food allergies, ADHD, asthma, diabetes, etc. Ask the school and the doctor about what is needed for your child’s specific medical condition.

Notify your child’s provider if any of the following has changed since the last visit: family medical history, insurance, or your child’s medication list.

Also, talk to your child about what will happen during the examination, so they are prepared for the doctor’s procedures. As your child’s physical approaches, write down any questions or concerns you may have about their health and development. Use that time with your child’s provider to have some of those discussions so you and your child can start the school year with the knowledge and peace of mind you need.

Galen is Chattanooga’s Pediatrician

We aim to promote a healthy lifestyle and reduce infant and child illness. Our pediatricians strive to earn the trust of both parent and child while providing evidence-based treatment in a caring, comfortable setting. Call your pediatrician’s office today to schedule your child’s Annual Wellness exam!

Reviewed by Cindy T. Harris, M.D.

Dr. Harris is a Specialist in Pediatrics at Galen East Internal Medicine and Pediatrics.