Thanksgiving and Family (history)
The U.S. Surgeon General has recommended that families share medical histories during Thanksgiving get-togethers. Knowing your family’s health history can provide important information about your health and health risks. You can create a family health portrait in about 20 minutes on the Surgeon General’s website: My Family Health Portrait.
Obesity & Children: the Good News and the Bad News
Bad news first?
Okay, the bad news is that children who are overweight and obese and stay that way into adulthood, have a much greater risk of developing some serious problems. This risk ranges from about double the chance of having abnormal cholesterol levels to more than five times the chance of developing diabetes.
The good news is pretty good though. According to an article released today in the New England Journal of Medicine, if those children become nonobese–in other words, if they loose the excess weight–by the time they become adults, their risk for these problems goes back down. In fact, it seems to go back to the same risk as people who were never overweight or obese as children.
So, it’s never to late to encourage our kids to start exercising and eating well!
Carrying the Past Forward
As another year ends and a new one begins, many of you are probably feeling the same thing I am: “time flies”! Although growing older usually means growing wiser, it’s also true that some memories fade with time. What does this have to do with healthcare? Well, some of those fading memories are about our medical problems and our family members medical problems. In fact when I am talking with a patient about his or her family health history, it’s very common for me to hear “I’m not really sure.” But with our advancing understanding of the genetic basis of many diseases, family history can be a powerful tool for looking at our risk of developing those diseases. To help you keep track of your family history, check out this free resource from the Surgeon General at My Family Health Portrait. You can have family members contribute, and you can print out a family health tree for your physician.