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Frequently Asked Questions



What does family history have to do with genomics?

Family history is genomics! Family history is a simple yet powerful genomic tool that can collect information on genetic, environmental, behavioral, social, and cultural risk factors for diseases among family members. Family history can be the first step in identifying and targeting at risk populations.



Why should I use family history in my program?

Family history helps to assess gene-environment interactions to identify populations at highest risk for disease. Using family history in your program can help you develop targeted messages and interventions at greatest risk. Family history may also motivate people to change their diet, exercise regularly, or participate in early screenings if they know they have a family history of heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

Remember you can't change your genes but you can change your behaviors!



What chronic diseases is family history a risk factor for?

Family history is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, breast, ovarian, colorectal, and prostate caner, melanoma, asthma, osteoporosis, and even arthritis.



Are there any examples of a family history program in public health?

YES! The Utah Department of Health ran the most successful and well-known family history program to date. Check out the Family High Risk Program on our website.



What family history tools are available to help my program?

eHealth Family Tree tool - watch for our web version coming soon!



Where do I go for more information on family history?

Check out our Resources or Current Projects for more information.



"Genes draw your road map, but you still chart your course...And a
genetic predisposition is just that: it is not
destiny but rather a tendency that can be encouraged or
discouraged to express itself by how we live
our lives."

New York Times
February 25, 2002