Family gatherings offer time to discuss health, heredity

A family celebrates Christmas dinner together at home.  This holiday season could be a good time to talk about family health and inheritance, say experts at Intermountain Healthcare in Utah.

With the holidays on the horizon, there’s a good chance that you’ll soon find yourself in touch with at least a few members of your extended family. Between bites of turkey and stories about the glory days of her Uncle Bob’s high school, it’s the perfect time to talk about something even more important: her family’s health history.

Depending on the culture and personalities within a given family, the amount of information that is shared about your hereditary health can vary greatly. If you’re in a quiet group, asking the right questions can jump-start a conversation full of information that can be extremely valuable to the way you approach your health and lifestyle.

“I think we’re seeing an increase in people doing family history research for all sorts of reasons,” said Travis Sheffield, director of applied genomics at Intermountain Precision Genomics. “People want to know who they’re related to, why they have a particular tendency, or why they don’t like certain foods.”

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