This Thanksgiving, don’t just focus your mealtime conversation on turkey, football, and enticing Black Friday sales. Don’t skip talking about the fun stuff–but make time to talk about your health history, too.
The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, has declared this Thanksgiving the nation’s 8th annual “Family Health History Day,” where families can share information to gather their health history in one place. In trying to prevent disease and disability, it’s a good idea to learn about what health conditions exist in our families that may put us at increased risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more. The “My Family Health Portrait” website makes gathering a family health history a simple task.
- Where can I find the “My Family Health Portrait” site? Access this secure website by clicking: https://familyhistory.hhs.gov/.
- Is it free to use? Yes–totally free! Plus, it only takes about 20 minutes to use.
- How do I use it? Visit the website and answer the brief set of questions that it asks about you, your health conditions, and your family. It will then create a personalized “family health tree” that you can save to your computer.
- Can my family use it, too? Absolutely! Once you’ve created your “family health tree,” you can add your family’s health information in anytime–and your family can update their information on the saved file on your computer, too.
- Does my health information stay private? Yes. The website does not retain any of the information/answers you’ve given it once the Family Health Tree file is created and saved to your computer.
- What’s the value of using the “My Family Health Portrait” website? It helps you create a useful collection of information that you can give your doctor, who can then–based on this health history–recommend specific tests or treatment plans to delay or prevent certain diseases and conditions.
Health Advocate wishes you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!