Gather Around the Table this Thanksgiving and Discuss Your Family Health History

Vector illustration on the theme of National Family health history day observed each year on Thanksgiving day in November.

When you gather around the table this Thanksgiving Day to share turkey and dressing, be sure you also share some important family health history.

The U.S. Surgeon General in 2004 declared Thanksgiving National Family History Day to encourage families to talk about and write down their health histories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This history can help family members learn who may be at greater risk for heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes and other illnesses

Once you have the information, discuss it with your healthcare provider. Your provider can help with testing, genetic counseling, and reducing your risk for developing disease.

Although it may not be easy to talk with your relatives about diseases that they or other relatives have had, it’s important for you and everyone in your family to start the conversation.

Don’t know where to start? Check out the Family Health History page to learn what questions to ask and the steps to take to lower your risk for certain diseases.

You can record your family’s health history and learn about your own risk for some conditions at My Family Health Portrait. You can print and save your information. The tool is free, and you can use it to share your information with your family and healthcare provider.

Learn more about ways to talk with your family members about their health history at the Let’s Talk, Sharing Info About Your Family Cancer Risk site.

Learning your family’s health history is an important way to protect your health.