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Performing Arts Medicine: Pediatric and Adolescent Medical Aspects

Martin W. Sklaire
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 12 Number 3: Page 75 (September 1997)

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Abstract: Children usually begin their careers in performance music and dance between the ages of 5 and 18 years. For those who are qualified, the performing arts offer a stimulating, challenging, and comprehensive lifetime career. The young artist, while under the influence of family, environment, and school, has to cope with the challenges of growth and development and remain healthy in order to succeed in his or her musical or dance career. The influence of the family is important. Teachers should be aware of these multiple influences, and should interact with the student and the family in order to stimulate the student's career. The pediatrician, as the provider of health care, plays an important role in promoting and maintaining the health of future performers. His or her role is to stimulate physical, mental, and social health for all children, adolescents, and young adults. To accomplish this goal, every child should have a primary health care provider.1 Child and adolescent performers should visit the pediatrician at regular intervals in order to obtain physical examinations and have their illnesses treated so as not to interfere with their studies or careers. This article reviews standards for well child examinations, and discusses growth and developmental issues, immunizations to prevent infectious disease, types of infectious disease that are seen in child and adolescent musicians and dancers, and the influence of chronic diseases, such as asthma, overuse injuries, substance abuse, and eating disorders, on young performers.

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