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Are Kids Getting the Right Check-Ups When Seeing Their Doctor? New Study Questions Whether They Are

Children, depending on their age, often have difficulty conveying whether they are having health issues and if so which symptoms they are having. Therefore it is up to pediatricians to give kids a full and complete check up to identify any problems they are having. But many doctors fail to do this, which leads to minor issues getting worse.

CBS news reports on new data showing that kids often get incomplete check ups.

All physicians concur on the idea that regardless of how healthy a child is, basic preventive care is always necessary to assure proper growth and production.

However a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention implies numerous families and doctors fail to take this expert advice. Data shows that millions of children and adolescents do not receive preventive health services, such as complete patient check-ups.

The report states, “Children have distinct health care needs that are different than those of adults," write the authors of the report. "They undergo rapid and constant physical, physiological, and developmental changes from infancy through adolescence. Their unique health needs in various life stages of development present different opportunities for health care providers to offer clinical preventive services that can improve the health of infants, children, and adolescents and promote healthy lifestyles to increase the opportunity for all children to achieve their full potential.”

The report was published on Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC found that numerous American children are not receiving much needed vaccines, screenings, or counseling for problems such as reproductive health, contraception and mental illness. The study, which is based on state health records, focuses on eleven clinical preventive services such as disease diagnoses or prevention, screenings for hearing loss and vision, as well as breastfeeding counseling for pregnant women.

What were the report’s statistical findings? CBS explains, “The authors of the report found that in 2007 nearly 8 in 10 parents of children aged 10 to 47 months were not offered a comprehensive screening for developmental delays by a health care provider. More than half -- 56 percent -- of children and adolescents had not visited a dentist in the past year, and 9 out of 10 did not receive dental sealants or fluoride treatments to prevent cavities. The report also confirms that despite its effectiveness and availability, many young females aged 13 to 17 don’t receive the HPV vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus, which is linked to cancer. Nearly half of all girls aged 13 to 17 did not get the vaccine in 2011. Additionally, almost two-thirds of sexually active females aged 15 to 21 years had not received chlamydia screening in the past year.”

Who suffers the most?

The report found that the youngest patients usually receive the most insufficient care. Statistically, the report showed, that between 2009 and 2010, about fifty percent of all infants who failed their hearing screening were not documented to have received testing needed to diagnose hearing loss or impairment. And just twenty-two percent of 5-year-old children had ever had their vision checked by a doctor, nurse or optometrist.

“The authors of the report say racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities may be a contributing cause for lack of preventive care. The report found a number of disparities: Uninsured children are not as likely as insured children to receive preventive care services and Hispanic children were less likely than non-Hispanic children to have reported vision screening,” according to CBS.

Experts hope that that the Affordable Care Act helps provide more access to preventive care for children. The authors say, “The findings in this supplement indicate that millions of infants, children, and adolescents in the United States have not benefited from key clinical preventive services, and that there are large disparities by demographics, geography, and health-care coverage and access in the use of these services.”