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Genomics and Health

Family Health History Awareness

African-American familyDo certain diseases and health conditions run in your family?

Did you know that having a close family member with a chronic disease, such as cancer, coronary heart disease, or diabetes can increase your risk of developing that disease? Chronic diseases are caused by a combination of factors that family members share, including genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments (e.g., residence, community). Even if you are healthy now, knowing your family health history and sharing it with your doctor can help you to understand your risk and take action to prevent disease.

Have you ever collected your family’s health history?

You might know a lot about your family health history or only a little. It is helpful to talk with your family members about their health history, write this information down, and update it from time to time. This way you will have organized and accurate information ready to share with your doctor. Family health history information can help your doctor determine which tests and screenings are recommended to help you know your health risk.

To assist you in collecting your family history information, CDC’s Office of Public Health Genomics collaborated with the U.S. Surgeon General and other federal agencies to develop a web-based tool “My Family Health Portrait.” To use this tool, visit:

Learn more about Family Health History



Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd.
    Atlanta, GA 30333 USA
    800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)
  • Additional information for Public Health Genomics is available on our contact page. The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Road Atlanta, GA 30329-4027, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348 - Contact CDC–INFO
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