National Family History Day falls on Thanksgiving, when multiple generations within a family often gather to celebrate the holiday. Danielle Howard, a dietetics student at Eagle Nutrition Services, shares tips on how to gather information about family health. She also discusses health, nutrition, and disease prevention tips. Listen to the episode above, or read the main takeaways below:
Obtaining Health History
Health history records consist of the medical history, including diseases and health conditions, from three generations of family members. Howard recommends asking family members simple, lighthearted questions and talking points to obtain information about family health history. She suggests using the following talking points as a guide:
Ask about family recipes
Who created those recipes?
What happened to the family member?
How are they related to you?
Explain why family health history is important to you
Recording the information family members give you is also important. Howard suggests taking notes or record with a voice memo app or a voice recorder so you have accurate information for health screenings.
If one finds that they don’t have diseases or health conditions that run in their family, Howard notes that they should still be cautious, as their personal behaviors or lifestyle choices could be contributing to the development of other conditions.
Maintaining a Nutritious Diet
According to Howard, making healthy food choices includes having an adequate and nutrient-dense diet. She also adds that diet is an eating pattern, not individual foods, meaning that what you eat overall contributes to your health.
“If we think of [nutrition] like a car, you put gas in it, and it moves forward.” Howard says, “We need food that’s going to fuel our bodies to actually function, to actually move forward, to go on in daily life.”
Each component of one’s diet should be balanced, covering each necessary nutrient. Variety and moderation are also key.
Health history questionnaires can be helpful in increasing one’s awareness of both their family’s health and their own.
“There’s so many different aspects that play a part in your health history,” Howard says. “Before you can start making or taking actions toward prevention or toward helping yourself or bettering the quality of your life, you have to be aware of what could be against you and then also what could be for you.”
Visit the following website to learn more about family health history and healthy eating habits.
Your healthcare provider(s)
The Eagle Nutrition Services office is located at 160 Rackham Hall, and is open every Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. You can find a full list of their available services and pricing here.
Reported: Kaila Trefil
Produced: Ashlee Buhler
Edited: Ronia Cabansag