For the ninth annual National Family History Day, make an effort to create an accurate picture of your family health history with the help of My Family Health Portrait, an online tool.
This year may mark the 391st celebration of Thanksgiving since the 53 surviving pilgrims celebrated in Plymouth, but there is cause for another celebration. This year, Thanksgiving also marks the ninth annual National Family History Day, which was instituted in 2004 by the Office of the Surgeon General. As families gather to eat turkey and watch football, the surgeon general encourages members to come together to paint an accurate picture of their family health.
To help, there is an updated online tool called My Family Health Portrait, which allows families to get a clear idea of what their health history looks like and what health problems can be prevented in the future.
The site, powered by the Office of the Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, makes creating a family health history simple and easy—all you need is an up-to-date Internet browser and a good memory. The online form takes about 15 minutes to complete and guides you through questions about yourself, your immediate family, and your ancestors. You’ll be prompted to save your document so you can update it over time, and you’ll also have the ability to download the form at any time to send to your family doctor. Your doctor can then access your record privately and securely and use it to give you and your loved ones a better-informed analysis of your health, including whether you might have a higher risk for certain diseases such as cancer or heart disease.
Family members can build off of each other’s documents, allowing for a more accurate portrait of your overall family history. Families and doctors can then collaborate on developing a full and detailed health history record to help your family take the necessary steps to reduce future health risks.
To start building your own family health portrait, visit familyhistory.hhs.gov.
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