The best way to a healthy school year means staying on top of vaccines, annual well visits and keeping kids physically active.
Cleveland, Ohio – As kids are heading back to the classroom, the biggest question is, “How can I keep my kids healthy?” Health Action Council believes that keeping kids healthy begins with being certain they are getting annual wellness visits and keeping current on vaccines.
Well-child visits and recommended preventable disease vaccinations are essential and help keep children healthy and protected. Children who are not protected by vaccines are more likely to get diseases like measles and whooping cough. These diseases are extremely contagious and can be very serious, especially for babies and young children.
“While this is a historical issue, even more kids have missed immunizations due to COVID-19, which is concerning,” said Patty Starr, President & CEO of Health Action Council. “In order to prepare for a healthy school year, parents need to make sure that good health begins at home by making certain that their children eat properly, get exercise and get to the doctor annually for well-visits and vaccines”
Well-child visits are essential for many reasons, including:
- Receiving the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended preventable disease vaccinations
- Tracking growth and developmental milestones
- Discussing any concerns about your child’s health
- Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis)
Health Action Council and the Ohio High School Athletic Association joined forces last year to establish “Healthy Kids”. It is a program that engages students and their families, school leaders, teachers, coaches and communities in promoting improved health and wellness.
“Simple things like well-child visits ensure that kids are developing properly,” said Starr. “These definitely should not be missed or overlooked.”
According to Blue Cross, Blue Shield Association, children were on track to miss an estimated 9 million vaccine doses in 2020, of 20% for measles, and a decrease of 16% for polio. Approximately 40% of parents and guardians said their children missed vaccines due to the pandemic. Additionally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid reported that between March and May, Ohio had 101,786 fewer child screening services, 70,663 fewer vaccinations for children and 208,934 fewer dental services compared to the same period in 2019.
Further, the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend that every child continues to receive recommended preventable disease vaccinations. An online survey of parents with children ages 0-18 shows a majority have a great attitude toward vaccines, with 79% positive response for babies and young children and 72% positive response with parents of teens.
“With so many people in favor of vaccinations for young children, families need to realize the importance of staying on track and getting well-visits annually,” said Starr. “The best way to start off the school year healthy is to make certain that you have your children’s preventable disease vaccinations up to date, and that they see their doctor, annually, for well visits.”
So how can employers do this? By educating and engaging employees about benefits.
As the school year begins, parents should also be certain to keep kids active by developing healthy habits such as playing outside, participating in sports and managing screen time.
“Health care literacy is of utmost importance to keep our kids healthy,” said Starr.
About Health Action Council
Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid-and large-size employers that enhances human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services, and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents, and retirees.
Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders – health plans, physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry – to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community.