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2010-12-07 09:40:50
Back to School Health Basics
Contact Information:
Natifia Gaines
(718) 206-6020

August 26, 2008 (Jamaica, NY)-- In the midst of the back to school mayhem—shopping for school supplies, new clothes, planning last minute summer activities, and simply trying to enjoy the warm weather—pediatricians at Jamaica Hospital are reminding parents to schedule their child for a medical examination and take the time to ensure a healthy start to the school year.

“If your child hasn’t had their annual health checkup yet, now is the time to schedule one," said Dr. Partha Chatterjee, Associate Director of Pediatrics at Jamaica Hospital. “The school year is quickly approaching and students who aren’t up-to-date with their immunizations are not allowed to attend school until they comply with the immunization requirements."

Immunizations are mandated by law and the NYS Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requires that all children complete a comprehensive physical examination, including age-based immunization requirements.

A physical examination will include:

  • Vaccines. In addition to all recommended vaccines for school aged children, Hepatitis A, Tdap vaccinations and a second dose of varicella vaccine are now recommended as well. Tdap should be given to all children above 10. Children from 11-14 years old and college bound students are also required to have a meningococcal vaccine. For a complete list of immunization requirements, call 311.

  • Blood work. A routine complete blood count, which screen for anemia, is done for all school aged children. Overweight children should be screened for hyperlipidemias as well.

  • Vision and hearing screening. Pediatricians will test vision and hearing. If needed, referrals will be made to an optometrist or audiologist.

  • BMI measurement. As childhood obesity becomes a rising health concern, pediatricians now use a child’s height and weight to determine their Body Mass Index measurement.

  • Discussion of lifestyle choices. Sexual health, recreational substance abuse, and exposure to violence are briefly discussed with pre-teenagers, teenagers, and their parents or guardians.

  • Distribution of material. Pediatricians will give parents information on all vaccines they child received during their appointment. Age-specific TIPP (The Injury Prevention Program) sheets, developed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, will be distributed as well.
    In addition to health checkups, dental appointments should be scheduled as well.


Dr. Chatterjee adds: “Apart from what’s required for school, healthy eating, an active lifestyle, and good sleep habits, are all steps parents can take to ensure a healthy school year. Children should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Eating family meals can help achieve this. Children should also incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise in their day and get at least eight hours of sleep per night."

To schedule a pediatric appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001 or 718-206-7002.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center serves a population greater than 1.2 million in Queens and eastern Brooklyn. The Pediatrics Department at Jamaica Hospital offers a wide variety of medical and surgical subspecialty services in modern facilities for children from birth through adolescence. The department’s subspecialties include: allergy & immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, nephrology, and pulmonary medicine. For additional information contact the Department of Public Affairs at 718-206-6020.
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