Physicals can be part of back-to-school routine

In preparation for the 2023-24 school year, Essentia Health encourages scheduling a well-child/teen visit, one of the best ways to ensure a child is healthy and thriving.

Well-child/teen visits are a great opportunity to review your child’s health in all areas—growth, cognitive and social development, illness prevention, mental health and more.

“Summer is a great time for a well-child/teen visit, sports physicals and immunizations,” said Dr. Michelle Thieman, family medicine provider at Essentia. “It’s an excellent opportunity to ensure your child is healthy going into the school year. We love seeing children for their well-child visit as it’s the perfect chance for us to engage them in their own health and well-being, and answer questions that they and parents may have.”

These visits are for anyone from birth to age 21 and are recommended annually. At a well-child/teen visit, your pediatrician or primary care provider will:

• Conduct a comprehensive physical exam.

• Take measurements like height and weight.

• Screen for any mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression.

• Update all immunizations or vaccinations, including for HPV, meningitis and COVID-19.

• Talk about illness prevention, nutrition, physical fitness and other applicable health-related issues.

• When it’s age-appropriate, subjects like substance abuse, proper dieting and sexual health also are discussed at well-child/teen visits.

A sports physical, also known as a preparticipation physical examination (PPE), can also be completed as part of a well-child/teen visit. It is recommended that your child have their physical at least six weeks before their sports season begins so there is enough time to follow up on something if necessary.

Visit Essentia’s well-child/teen visit page for more information, including a list of the top questions to ask your child’s provider.

Individuals can schedule these visits directly through a pediatrician or family medicine provider. Individuals can also schedule by calling (844) 663-1068, online through or through the Essentia MyChart patient portal.

Many insurance companies cover one well-child/teen visit per year; contact yours to check on coverage.

Those who are interested only in completing sports physical forms, please contact your local clinic to make an appointment or to see if they have any upcoming sports physical sessions.