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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2009 Aug;20(3):678-94. doi: 10.1353/hpu.0.0191.

Family health history and health behaviors in Alaska native and American Indian people.

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  • 1University of Utah, Department of Medicine, Salt Lake City, UT, USA. marty.slattery@hsc.utah.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Family history of diseases among American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) people may influence health.

METHODS:

We examine the prevalence of family health history among a cohort of AIAN people (n= 10,374) enrolled in the Education and Research Towards Health (EARTH) Study. We evaluate the association between having a positive family history and health behaviors to determine if those reporting a family history were more likely to report lifestyles that put them at risk of developing these health conditions.

RESULTS:

Among participants, 17.7% reported not knowing their family history and 23.5% preferred not to answer the family history component of the questionnaire. Eight percent of participants reported a family history of colorectal cancer, 7.9% a family history of breast cancer, 25.8% a family history of heart attack, and 46.7% a family history of diabetes. Obesity, physical activity, cholesterol, and perceived health were associated with family history.

CONCLUSIONS:

Individuals with a family history of diseases may have lifestyles that influence their disease risk.

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