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Kid Health: 3 Red Flag Signs

Is your kid overweight, a picky eater or super moody? Why you might want to ask your pediatrician to run additional tests.
 

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Your doc will no doubt check the basics at your child’s next physical. But depending on your kid, you may want additional tests, says David L. Hill, M.D., an adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. If your little one falls into the categories below, consider additional screening.

If your child is overweight
Have your M.D. check
Cholesterol, blood sugar, and liver enzyme levels with a single blood draw. (Results can be more accurate when kids fast prior.)

Why it's important
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all overweight children age 10 and up have these tests every two years. Make sure to get your child’s Body Mass Index number and, if it is above the 85th percentile, talk with your doctor about how to promote a healthy weight.

If your child is frequently experiencing changes in mood
Have your M.D. check
For depression, with a mental health evaluation. (The pediatrician will ask your child questions like “In the past two weeks, have you felt lonely?”)

Why it's important
Studies have shown that these types of screening tools can accurately identify depression in children and lead to early — and effective — treatment.

If your child is a very picky eater
Have your M.D. check
Iron levels, with a finger-prick test.

Why it's important
Kids who shy away from iron- and protein-rich veggies, nuts, and meats may be at an elevated risk for iron and other nutritional deficiencies. Though symptoms aren’t always easy to spot, they may include fatigue and a decreased appetite.

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