The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released an updated version of its child health screening recommendations, which includes testing all children for conditions such as high cholesterol, depression and HIV.
In the new set of guidelines called "Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care" or the periodicity schedule, the AAP emphasized that health assessments for certain conditions should be made in all children at particular ages and that these must not only be employed among those with high risks.
Conducting screenings during routine child health visits signify changes in the pediatric practice that has been going on for the last two years.
In the past, only children with high risks are recommended for cholesterol screening. Researches, however, show that targeted screening misses out a lot of children with abnormal cholesterol levels. "Instead, we're simplifying things by saying all kids should be screened around age 9 or 10," said Dr. Geoffrey Simon, the chair of AAP's Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine.
The new AAP guidelines recommend that all children 9-11 years old to be screened for dyslipidemia or increased cholesterol levels. The amendment was made due to the persistent growth of the childhood obesity epidemic.
Suicide has become the leading cause of mortality among teenagers. With this, AAP included yearly depression screening for all patients 11-21 years old.
Federal statistics show that one out of four new HIV cases occurs among young people 13-24 years old. About 60 percent of the said population are not aware that they have contracted the disease. With this, the AAP included HIV screening for all patients 16-18 years old.
Aside from cholesterol, depression and HIV screenings, the academy also made new recommendations for health issues such congenital heart disease, anemia and cervical dysplasia. Changes in dental and vision assessments were also proposed. Lastly, the pediatrician group recommended the use of the CRAFFT (Car, Relax, Forget, Friends, Trouble) questionnaire to screen teenagers for drug and alcohol use.
The new recommendations are said to be made for children receiving adequate parental guidance, developing satisfactorily and showing no notable signs of significant health problems.
All the recommended assessments will be covered by insurance as part of the Affordable Care Act, the AAP said.
The new guideline was published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, Dec. 7.
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