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Diabetes Care. 2011 Nov;34(11):2393-9. doi: 10.2337/dc11-0876. Epub 2011 Sep 20.

Influence of familial risk on diabetes risk-reducing behaviors among U.S. adults without diabetes.

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  • 1Office of Public Health Genomics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.



To test the association of family history of diabetes with the adoption of diabetes risk-reducing behaviors and whether this association is strengthened by physician advice or commonly known factors associated with diabetes risk.


We used cross-sectional data from the 2005-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to examine the effects of family history of diabetes on the adoption of selected risk-reducing behaviors in 8,598 adults (aged ≥20 years) without diabetes. We used multiple logistic regression to model three risk reduction behaviors (controlling or losing weight, increasing physical activity, and reducing the amount of dietary fat or calories) with family history of diabetes.


Overall, 36.2% of U.S. adults without diabetes had a family history of diabetes. Among them, ~39.8% reported receiving advice from a physician during the past year regarding any of the three selected behaviors compared with 29.2% of participants with no family history (P < 0.01). In univariate analysis, adults with a family history of diabetes were more likely to perform these risk-reducing behaviors compared with adults without a family history. Physician advice was strongly associated with each of the behavioral changes (P < 0.01), and this did not differ by family history of diabetes.


Familial risk for diabetes and physician advice both independently influence the adoption of diabetes risk-reducing behaviors. However, fewer than half of participants with familial risk reported receiving physician advice for adopting these behaviors.

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