Nov 26, 2009 - News

Remember: Turkey Day is Also National Family Health History Day


Looking for something to talk about between mouthfuls of green bean casserole and cranberry dressing?

Instead of discussing the big game or Friday’s shopping prospects, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin would like you to consider chatting up your relatives to learn their medical histories in honor of Family Health History Day.

“An important first step in preventing illness is learning about health conditions in our families that may put us at risk for inheriting diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, mental illness, and many others,” said Dr. Benjamin in a press release.   “Discussing family health information with each other can often uncover things you never knew, simply because no one ever asked.”

Here are a few resources to help you get you started:

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Family History Initiative

You can use the online tool “My Family Health Portrait” to help guide you in collecting your own family’s health history. (Also available in Chinese, Polish, Spanish, French and Portuguese from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital National Family Health Initiative Website.)

The Genetic Alliance

Links to sites that can help with collecting a family health history, including resources for family reunion organizers who want to incorporate this into their next gathering.

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