Government Agency Navigation

Well-Child Visits

Narrative

In 2010, 79.9 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 when they were not sick or injured. 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 age 3 through adolescence.1 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 well-child visits declines with age. In 2010, 89.9 percent of children 4 years of age and younger had received a preventive visit in the past year, compared to 77.4 percent of children 5–11 years of age and 73.9 percent of children 12–17 years of age. Among the oldest adolescents, the rate was even lower (69.0 percent).

Receipt of preventive medical care also varies by several other factors, including type of insurance and race and ethnicity. In 2010, only 55.6 percent of uninsured children had received a well-child visit in the past year, compared to about 80 percent of those with public or private insurance (79.4 and 83.3, respectively; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). With respect to race and ethnicity, non-Hispanic children of more than one race and non-Hispanic Black children were most likely to have received a well-child visit in the past year (87.1 and 83.3 percent, respectively), followed by non-Hispanic White (80.5 percent), non-Hispanic Asian (76.4), and Hispanic children (75.4). Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaskan Native children had the lowest reported rate of preventive care in the past year (63.2 percent).

1 American Academy of Pediatrics. Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care. Accessed: September 8, 2012.

Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

preventive health care receipt by age graph

This image is described in the Data section.

preventive health care receipt by race graph

Data

Receipt of Preventive Health Care in the Past Year Among Children Under Age 18, by Age, 2010

Percent of Children:

  • Total: 79.9
  • 0-4 Years: 89.9
  • 5-11 Years: 77.4
  • 12-17 Years: 73.9

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. 2010 National Health Interview Survey with multiply imputed poverty data. Unpublished estimates. Analyzed by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

Receipt of Preventive Health Care in the Past Year Among Children Under Age 18,* by Race/Ethnicity,** 2010

Percent of Children:

  • Non-Hispanic White: 80.5
  • Non-Hispanic Black: 83.3
  • Hispanic: 75.4
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native: 63.2
  • Non-Hispanic Asian:  76.4
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race:  87.1

* All estimates are age-adjusted.
**The sample of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander children was too small to produce reliable results.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. 2010 National Health Interview Survey with multiply imputed poverty data. Unpublished estimates. Analyzed by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.