Genomics plays a role in nine of the Ten Leading Causes of Death in the United States, most notably cancer and heart disease. These diseases are partly the result of how genes interact with environmental and behavioral risk factors, such as diet and physical activity. Also, a large fraction of children’s hospitalizations are due to diseases that have genetic components.
A study of the relationship between genes, environment, and behaviors, researchers and practitioners can learn why some people get sick, while others do not. Family health history information can also help to identify people who may have a higher risk for certain diseases. Better understanding of genetic and family history information can help researchers and practitioners identify, develop, and evaluate screening and other interventions that can improve health and prevent disease. Individuals can contribute to their health by keeping records of their family health information and sharing this information with their doctor and with other family members.