Preventive Health Care Visits
In 2008, 75.8 percent of children under 18 years of age were reported by their parents to have had a preventive, or “well-child”, medical visit in the past year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have eight preventive health care visits in their first year, three in their second year, and at least one per year from middle childhood through adolescence. Well-child visits offer an opportunity not only to monitor children’s health and provide immunizations, but also to assess a child’s behavior and development, discuss nutrition, and answer parents’ questions.
The proportion of children receiving wellchild visits declines with age. In 2008, 86.7 percent of children 4 years of age and younger received a preventive visit in the past year, compared to 76.0 percent of children 5–9 years of age, 70.1 percent of children 10–14 years of age, and 66.5 percent of children 15–17 years of age.
Receipt of preventive medical care also varies by race and ethnicity. In 2008, non-Hispanic Black children were the most likely to have received a well-child visit in the past year (81.1 percent), followed by non-Hispanic White children (75.7 percent). Hispanic children were least likely to have received preventive care in the past year (72.6 percent).