As pediatricians, we are frequently asked why a child needs a yearly physical, even if they seem perfectly healthy. At each well visit, your provider will ask questions, examine your child and discuss any recommended vaccines. At each age milestone, different screening tools and tests may be recommended in addition to the traditional physical exam.

Children are constantly growing and a lot can change in a year. We measure height and weight to ensure adequate growth. We plot these measurements on a growth curve which shows projected growth patterns. Variations in this curve can indicate nutritional deficiencies, hormone deficiencies, as well as other major medical problems.

Between two and six-years-old, children grow at a faster rate than almost any other time during their development. During this time, we can monitor their growth rate, size, weight and blood pressure to help determine if early action is needed to combat issues that may arise later in adolescence. Children who are overweight at age five have a much higher percentage of being obese in adolescence and later in life.

When your child hits the “tween” age, around eight to 12-years-old, growth patterns and timelines for development can vary. Because your child is starting toward puberty, getting a yearly physical can help us prepare them (and you!) for hormonal changes as well as other physical and emotional changes that occur during these times.

These yearly physicals allow us an opportunity to address important topics such as ways to ensure your child's safety, healthy sleep habits, goals for adequate nutrition and more. Through these visits, we work to identify any physical, emotional, developmental or social concerns and begin to address them. The "sick visit" is a time to address an acute illness or check in on an ongoing specific condition. In contrast, the well visit (or physical) is a time for the provider to do a more thorough evaluation. It also gives the patient, family and provider an opportunity to work together to ensure quality overall health.

Additionally, if your child plays a sport, the state of Michigan (MHSAA) requires that students receive a physical AFTER April 15, 2017 in order to play sports in the 2017-2018 school year. Act now to schedule your child's physical for this spring/summer. You can schedule online or by calling your child's office. We look forward to seeing you!


For most adults, screening for colon cancer starts soon after turning 50. This because the chances of getting colon cancer increase as you get older. According to the CDC, 90% of cases occur in people 50 years or older. However, this doesn’t mean that adults younger than 50 can’t develop colon cancer and it’s important to know if you are at risk.

A history of colon cancer in the family means it could be genetic. If a close relative, generally your parent, sibling or child, has had colorectal polyps or colon cancer it is important to get screenings at a younger age. This risk is even higher if that family member was younger than 45-years-old when they were diagnosed with cancer, or if more than one close relative is affected. Additionally, if you have inflammatory bowel disease, your risk of colon cancer is increased.

Colon cancer forms when abnormal growths, called polyps, form in the colon or rectum. These polyps can mutate into cancer and spread throughout the colon. Thankfully, screening tests like a colonoscopy can find the polyps and your physician can remove them during a colonoscopy before they turn into cancer.

Colon cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer and there are a number of lifestyle factors that you can be aware of to actively reduce the risk of getting colon cancer. These include getting the recommended amount of physical activity, eating a healthy diet with fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy body weight and watching your consumption of alcohol and tobacco.

Even without inflammatory bowel disease or a family history of colon cancer, it is vital to listen to your body. If you think something is wrong, make an appointment with your doctor.


Fiber has many wonderful characteristics! Fiber can lower blood sugar, cut cholesterol and may even help prevent colon cancer. But few people are getting enough! Women should get about 25 grams each day, and men at least 35-40 grams. However, the average person only gets about 15 grams per day.

Many people rely on whole grains and salads to provide their daily fiber intake, which is definitely a good start. But, lettuce alone isn’t enough. In fact, iceberg lettuce only has about 0.5g per cup! Try adding some artichokes, which provide about 10.3g, or avocado, which provide 6.7g per half, to your salad. Additionally, adding beans to your meals also helps increase your fiber intake. One cup of white beans is about 12g of fiber, while one cup of black beans is about 15g.

If you’d rather get your fiber from a dessert, try black bean brownies. It may sound odd, but you can’t taste the beans, and the brownies contain more than 22g of fiber total.

You can also try incorporating flaxseed into your diet, by adding this to your oatmeal, smoothies or yogurt. A two-tablespoon serving of flaxseed contains 3.8g of fiber, and also gives you a dose of omega-3 fatty acids! Chia seeds offer 5.5g of fiber per tablespoon and are great for thickening smoothies or puddings, and for replacing eggs in most baked good recipies!

Some other high fiber foods include corn (2g per ear), brown rice (3.5g per cup), lentils (15.6g per cup), pears (skin intact, 5.5g per pear), and broccoli (5g per cup).

Eating your recommended daily amount of fiber can be fun! Push the limits and try some new fiber filled recipes! Your colon will thank you!