Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day

Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day have become bound together in harmony since 2004. That was the year in which the U.S. Surgeon General established the bond between Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day. What was the goal of doing this?

The main goal was to encourage people to become more aware of health issues that might run in the family.


Ask – Write – Share

Perhaps the opportunity for joint family celebration can be used for joint family investigation.

On Thanksgiving, many family members gather together, and give thanks for events of the past and reminisce.  This was seen an opportunity when family members could ask senior members of the family questions about family health.

How should one do this?



People are encouraged to ask about: Senior family members, grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces. Blood relatives share family memories and genetic connections. It’s not for nothing that there is an expression “blood is thicker than water”. Yes, really it refers to the warm family loyalties enjoyed by families. But for the connection between Thanksgiving and creating a Family Health History, we are talking about genetics and health issues.



You could use a simple notebook, email or the free online tool provided by the Surgeon General. It is called: “My Family Health Portrait”  .

The plusses of using software include:

  • It is free software
  • It’s easy to navigate and use
  • You will have the health record in a systematic, organized layout
  • You can share the information with your family
  • The information can be shared with your doctor if you choose



Share the information with family members, especially for:

  • Illness that began earlier than is common
  • Affected differently than is common
  • Was especially severe
  • Was a chronic serious illness

Individuals can to share the information with their doctor. A doctor can assess whether there is reason to do screening tests and take lifestyle changing action.

Once people are more aware of their health status a doctor can decide to screen family memebers – even at a young age.


Links between Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day

Using the opportunity for a family get together for creating a Family Health History, is great.

We found some more subtle links – enjoy!


Other Interesting or Logical Connections

On Thanksgiving people might eat heavy, celebratory meals. That might become a reason to be concerned about one’s health! All the more so if you are senior and are recovering in short-term or post-acute rehabilitation.

On National Family Health History Day, seniors and younger family members might begin to change their lifestyle. The health connection is made due to family discussing the family health history. The celebratory meal next year, might be more healthful!


The connection between Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day is: Connection!

It’s all about being connected and giving thanks together. It also all about maintaining healthy family connections. Always remaining on speaking terms with your family, means you can share health history and maybe live longer as a result.


On Thanksgiving, people reminisce and share memories. National Family Health History Day is also about memories, albeit those related to health.


On Thanksgiving people realize that there are things you can’t change from history. But you can change your reaction to history and your attitudes to the future. Likewise, on National Family Health History Day people can discuss health. In health, there are some genetic factors that you can’t change.  However, you can decide that going forwards you can change to a healthier lifestyle, screen for disease or join a support group.


In conclusion

We have seen that there are many connections between Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day. The main and most important one, is the opportunity to create a broad Family Health History record. This can help across generations, horizontally and vertically. It is relevant genealogically, also simply, logically. Happy Thanksgiving and family health recording!



Thanksgiving and National Family Health History Day




Original Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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