Without symptoms of disease, children generally do not need many laboratory screening tests. However, helping children develop healthy habits, like eating well and being active, could prevent serious and costly health problems as they grow older. For example, helping an overweight or obese child reduce his or her weight can prevent diabetes and heart disease in later years.
The menu above links you to articles on the few conditions and diseases for which children may be screened. The articles summarize recommendations from various authorities on screening tests for children, and there is consensus in many areas, but not all. Therefore, when discussing screening with your child's health care provider and making decisions about testing, it is important to consider your child's individual health situation and risk factors.
For more information on what happens at your child's medical exams, see Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Pocket Guide.
You can find out more about preventive medicine and the steps you can take to keep you and your family healthy by reading the companion article Wellness and Prevention in an Era of Patient Responsibility.
Hagan JF, Shaw JS and Duncan PM, eds. Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents (3rd ed.). 2008. Washington, DC: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Schedules for children and adolescents—United States, 2008 (policy statement). Jan 2008. Pediatrics 121(1):219-220. Available online through http://pediatrics.aappublications.org. Accessed Jan 2008.
American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine; Bright Futures Steering Committee. Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care. Dec 2007. Pediatrics 120(6):1376. Available online through http://pediatrics.aappublications.org. Accessed Jan 2008.
Green M and Palfrey JS. Bright Futures: Guidelines for Health Supervision of Infants, Children, and Adolescents, Pocket Guide (2nd ed.). 2002. National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health. Available online at http://www.brightfutures.org/pocket/index.html. Accessed Jan 2008.