A Thanksgiving Portrait: Gathering Family Health History

Last Updated: November 21, 2017Knowing your family history is important for both your genealogy and your health. So this Thanksgiving, start a new tradition. Have a conversation about your family’s health history. What you learn might surprise you.When we gather with family at Thanksgiving, it gives us the opportunity to discuss old memories and make new ones together. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) survey found that 96% of Americans believe family history is important, but less than 30% have ever tried to gather their family health history information. Use the Thanksgiving holiday to gather your family history this year.Family History DayIn 2004, the Surgeon General declared Thanksgiving “Family History Day,” encouraging Americans to talk about and write down their family’s health history. This can help doctors predict what illnesses might affect a family from one generation to the next.The Surgeon General says, “Learning about your family’s health history may help ensure a

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