Thursday, Jun. 11, 2009

At the Doctor's Office

Get all of the recommended vaccinations. "All of them," says Dr. Joseph Hagan, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. For children 12 or younger, these include hepatitis A and B, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), varicella and polio. For girls ages 11 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the human papillomavirus vaccine. (The CDC website has a comprehensive schedule of vaccinations.) Pediatricians advise tracking children's body mass index, or BMI, the main indicator of healthy body weight; screening for anemia and autism before age 2; and checking for high cholesterol before age 10. New guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggest considering cholesterol-lowering drugs for kids at high risk of heart disease as young as age 8.