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Back-to-School Checklist

Updated August 02, 2016 / Published August 13, 2015

You've got a checklist for school supplies; we've created one for you to keep you and your children healthy throughout the school year. Here's what Duke Health primary care doctors recommend you have on your to do list:

Update Your Immunizations

Most vaccine-preventable diseases are spread from person to person. The more people who are vaccinated, the fewer opportunities a disease has to spread. North Carolina law requires all children in the state receive at least one dose of the following vaccinations: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Haemophilus Influenzae type B, Hepatitis B and Varicella (chickenpox).

Get Your Daily Fitness In

Children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. Even 10 minutes at a time will improve their health. 

Adults need at least 150 minutes each week of moderate intensity aerobic activity (like brisk walking). Spread out your activity over the week. Even as little as 10 minutes at a time will improve your health.

Get Enough Sleep

Individual sleep needs vary, but the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute claims school-aged children need at least 10 hours of sleep a day, teens need 9-10 hours and adults need 7-8 hours a day. Insufficient sleep is associated with several chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and depression. Insufficient sleep is also responsible for motor vehicle and machinery-related crashes, which cause substantial injury and disability each year.

Prevent Cold, Flu and Other Infectious Diseases

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available. 

Stay healthy by washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

Eat Right

Make at least half your children’s grains whole grains and half of their plate fruit or vegetables. Think small when it comes to meat portions.

Dairy choices should be low-fat or fat-free to cut calories and saturated fat. 

Dairy requirements:

  • Children 1 to 3 years old: 1.5 to 2 cups
  • Children 4 to 8 years old: 2.5 cups
  • Children 9 and older: 3 cups

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