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Thanksgiving Traditions: Family Health History

This coming week, many families across the county will gather to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. While family traditions often center around traditional turkey dinners and watching football games, consider starting a new tradition to collect and document your family’s health history. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared Thanksgiving to be National Family History Day, encouraging Americans to share a meal and their family health history. This information can help your doctor decide which tests and screenings are recommended to help you know your health risks. Because family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments, they may share a common risk for developing certain health problems. Family history can be especially valuable in helping a doctor make diagnosis is a child shows signs of a particular disease or disorder.

The updated Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait ( tool (available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian) can help you and your family to collect and organize family health history information and allows you to share this information easily with your doctor.

More information on collecting family health history is available from the CDC at: .

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