Annual wellness visits are essential for children and adults to live a happy, healthy life. Through health screenings, pediatricians can detect potential health problems and many can be corrected or treated if detected early enough. Even though a child might be screened for generalized health problems, there are six evidence-based screenings that every pediatrician should know about and implement into their workflow. Not only will screening in these specific areas help a child early in life, but it can rule out any potential health problems that could be irreversible later on.
Developmental screenings at nine, 18 and 30 months are vital in detecting mental deformities, Cerebral Palsy and Autism Spectrum Disorder. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), 15.04% of children are affected by some developmental disorders.¹ Children who are shown to have a developmental disorder will be referred to specialists and receive treatment.
Maternal Depression Screening
As many as 70-80% of women will experience some level of postpartum depression.2 Postpartum depression is a depression new mothers experience after giving birth. Symptoms include a loss of appetite, difficulty bonding with the baby, irritability, and insomnia. The AAP recommends mothers of children 1-6 months old be screened for postpartum depression.3
Photoscreening is one of the most critical developmental screenings for a child. Photoscreening detects risk factors for amblyopia and other preventable vision disorders. The AAP recommends photo screening from ages 1-3, or until visual acuity can be detected directly.4 GoCheck Kids aids in helping pediatricians screen for vision disorders and will help the child treat preventable vision problems. Schedule a demo and learn how you can implement photoscreening into your workflow.
“As much as 80% of early learning is visual, and early vision issues can lead to learning disabilities. Pediatricians have long needed a reliable, fast, and cost-efficient way to detect vision risks affecting almost 1 in 4 children. GoCheck Kids has met this need with their innovative smartphone solution.” -Dr. Alan Greene, Pediatrician
According to the AAP, major depressive disorders affect as many as 20% of all teenagers. Screening for mental disorders can detect patterns regarding feelings and will allow a pediatrician to refer a child to a mental health expert. The AAP recommends children are screened for mental health disorders beginning at age 12.5
STI and HIV Screening
The AAP recommends screening for chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus, and syphilis beginning at age 11. Along with these, HIV should be a prevalent screening step for children of age 11.6 One of the reasons it is essential to screen for these health conditions is most children exposed to sexual abuse don’t report incidences. To prevent lifelong complications from sexual diseases, it is incredibly important to treat the conditions as early as possible.
Body Mass Index Screening
Body mass index screening will screen children for excess weight and obesity, which affect roughly 17% of all children.7 Obesity in children causes immediate health risks. Complications like joint problems, high blood pressure, breathing problems, and fatty liver can all lead to difficulties in the child’s everyday life and the future. Obesity in adults can lead to heart problems, liver problems, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Children need to be screened and referred to a nutritionist to help them prevent weight problems.
Even though these screening tools are available, many children affected by these conditions go without the screenings they need to detect them and begin treatment. Begin implementing one of these six screenings today by scheduling a demo to learn more about photoscreening today. ♦
- Boyle, C. A., Boulet, S., Schieve, L. A., Cohen, R. A., Blumberg, S. J., Yeargin-Allsopp, M., . . . Kogan, M. D. (2011, June 01). Trends in the Prevalence of Developmental Disabilities in US Children, 1997–2008. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/127/6/1034
- Langdon, K. (2019, May 03). Statistics on Postpartum Depression – Postpartum Depression Resources. Retrieved from https://www.postpartumdepression.org/resources/statistics/
- AAP. (2020). Maternal Depression. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Screening/Pages/Maternal-Depression.aspx
- Wyckoff, A. S. (2020, September 26). New reports shine light on vision screening for primary care offices. Retrieved from https://www.aappublications.org/news/2015/12/07/Vision120715
- Siu, A. L., & On behalf of the US Preventive Services Task Force. (2016, March 01). Screening for Depression in Children and Adolescents: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. Retrieved from https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/3/e20154467
- AAP. (2020). STI Screening Guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/adolescent-sexual-health/Pages/STI-Screening-Guidelines.aspx
- Office of the Surgeon General (US). The Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation. Rockville (MD): Office of the Surgeon General (US); 2010. Background on Obesity. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44656/