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Thanksgiving: A time for families and family health history

Posted Nov 24 2010 12:01am

Statement by the Surgeon General

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., issued the following statement today regarding the health value of family health history and the special opportunity to share family health history during Thanksgiving --

Thanksgiving is a special time when many American families spend the holiday together. I encourage you to use this holiday to share health information with each other to develop or update your family health history.

While family health histories may seem old-fashioned, the truth is, the family health history is key to understanding your family’s unique genetic make-up and your individual disease risks.

Knowing your family health history can help you actually prevent disease, or detect diseases, such as many forms of cancer, for early treatment. The information your family health history contains can help you and your doctor determine your personal risk.  This means two things:  you can tailor your lifestyle to reduce your health risks; and you can be more carefully screened for diseases where your risk is high.

To help you create a family health history, go to https://familyhistory.hhs.gov , for “My Family Health Portrait,” a tool on the Surgeon General’s family health history website.  You can then share the document with your family and with your doctor.

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