Family Lifestyles May Be as Important to Health as Genes

A family that eats healthy meals and exercises together can greatly offset any inherited disease tendencies. A new study of medical histories of more than 500,000 people and their families in the United Kingdom reveals that lifestyles and surroundings may play a strong role akin to that of genes in diseases that run in families.

The findings indicate that the impact of genes on disease risk may be overestimated by 47 percent when family factors aren’t taken into account. Shared family factors can have a significant influence on a person’s risk for some diseases.

Diseases where the family environment is important include depression, hypertension and heart disease.

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