Health Hub: Send Your Kids Back to School Healthy

A back-to-school physical should be on your checklist.

It doesn’t seem possible, but summer’s already winding to a close. You still have sand in your car, four half-empty tubes of sunscreen in your pool bag, and you’ve only just begun making checklists for school supplies for your first grader and sneakers for your middle schooler (who seems to have grown three shoe sizes in three months). There’s a lot to do to get ready for a new school year, but don’t forget to pencil in a back-to-school physical for each of your children, from those nervous new kindergartners to the almost- grown teens.

While most schools require updated immunization forms for certain age groups, and sports exams for student athletes, these aren’t the only important reasons to check in with the doctor at the start of each year. “The annual school physical gives your pediatrician a chance to give your child a thorough physical exam and address any concerns with their physical and mental health, development and weight,” says Dr. Nathan Falk, a Florida Hospital Medical Group family medicine physician in Winter Park.“School physicals may also detect conditions like asthma and vision and hearing problems.”

Stay on the field
Dr. Falk, who has specialty training in sports medicine, reminds parents of student athletes preparing for the fall sports season that their child’s exam should also address sport-specific issues, including injury prevention, nutrition, and ongoing training and exercise plans. “Overuse and overtraining have become major issues in youth sports, as have concussions and heart issues,” Dr. Falk says. “The physical is a good time to assess risk factors for these types of injuries.”

For your “fidget spinner”

If your child is prone to hyperactivity or distraction in class, the annual school physical is a great time to talk to your pediatrician about an evaluation for ADHD, depression or sleep problems. Discovering an explanation for poor performance in school or a change in attitude about learning could greatly improve your child’s life.

A family physician or pediatrician can perform a school physical. Before you get caught up in back-to-school chaos, schedule your children’s physicals at

Back-to-School Physical Check List 

Talk to your doctor about your child’s: 

  • Necessary immunizations  
  • Nutrition and fitness 
  • Emotional wellness
  • Sleep habits 
  • Skincare 
  • Screen time


Nathan P. Falk, MD, CAQSM, FAAFPis a board-certified family medicine physician in Winter Park with a certificate of added qualification in sports  medicine treating patients of all ages. Learn more at or call (407) 988-2226.



Florida Hospital Medical Group is the Orlando area’s most comprehensive multi-specialty medical group practice with more than 425 board-certified physicians and surgeons in more than 40 medical specialties.

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