This worries me:
According to recent statistics produced by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the United States Census, nearly one-third of the nation’s adolescents could be skipping out on important annual checkups.
I don’t think this is really news. I’d like to think our numbers at Pediatric Alliance are better than that. We never stop stressing how important annual check ups are for kids of all ages, especially teenagers. Still, life gets busy, time goes by, and often pediatricians get left picking up the pieces created by poor health, poor decisions (by teen or parent), or poor school performance. Annual check ups most certainly help keep parents, teens, and their doctors up-to-date and on the same page regarding physical, nutritional, and psychosocial health — not just for the child, but for the whole family. Still, Madelyn Kearns says a lot of teens and parents don’t see it that way:
One in four parents believed that most teenage lifestyle choices would not affect their health in the future; one in five adolescents interviewed were in agreement. But, according to the survey results: “Nearly all parents, teens and physicians surveyed (94, 96 and 97 percent, respectively) agree that teens should have a say in decisions about their own health. And the survey shows being healthy can be top of mind for many; two out of three teens surveyed say they worry a lot or a great deal about staying healthy. However, only 28 percent of parents reported that they believe their teens worry a lot or a great deal about their health.”
Parents should understand that the world is more complex, more demanding, more dangerous, and less forgiving than the one we grew up in. Our kids are in a global competition — for education, entertainment, economics, and employment. They don’t have the same luxury we had of messing up in school but still finding a job, eating whatever they want without becoming obese, or getting high or drunk and staying alive. They need to have their wits about them at all times because distractions — drugs, alcohol, cars, guns, crime — often have disastrous, even fatal, consequences. We all make mistakes in life. Children can’t afford to take their time to learn from their mistakes, let alone repeat them.
Our children today have to be smarter than we are. They have to be more aware, less aloof, and more involved in their schools and communities than we needed to be. They have to be more tolerant and less prejudiced than our society has been. (In this world, ignorance and insensitivity are badges we wear, easily read, for all to see.)
The advantages we enjoyed from being born American are dwindling. It’s a small planet, and the playing field is level now. Our kids need to step up or step back. It’s up to us — their parents — to show them the way, or get out of their way.
It’s up to parents to schedule check ups for their children (and for themselves). This is important. If your child is due for a check up, call your pediatrician’s office to schedule an appointment. If you don’t remember the date of their last check up, check our NextGen patient portal or call the office. Remember that if your child has a sports form that needs to be completed, the check up should occur after June 1st.
We all look forward to seeing your teenager in our office for their annual check up!