Family History and Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

What is a Family Health History?
It is a record of any serious health conditions that you and your family members have now or in the past. It can help show patterns of certain diseases in your family.

Diabetes runs in families. If you have a mother, father, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes, you have a greater risk for developing the disease.

The good news is that you can cut your risk for type 2 diabetes in half!

– even if you have a family history or already have pre-diabetes

  1. Eat more fruits, vegetables & whole grains and less fat
  2. Be active 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week
  3. Don’t smoke
  4. Eat smaller portions and lose 10 pounds if you are overweight
  5. Watch your blood pressure and cholesterol
  6. Talk to your doctor about all serious health problems in your family tree
Even if you do not have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you may still be at risk if you:             
( see Know your risk for diabetes)

  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are age 45 years and older
  • Are overweight
  • Are of African-American, American Indian, Hispanic / Latino American or Asian American descent
  • Have had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds
  • Have heart disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol

Take small steps to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes:
You cannot change your family history, but things you can change will make a difference:

  • Know your risk and get screened for type 2 diabetes
    • Get screened every year if you are 45 years and older and have other diabetes risk factors
    • Talk to your doctor about your family history risk of diabetes
  • Be active every day
    • Set realistic goals to start, such as walking 10 minutes a day most days
    • Work up to being active 30 minutes a day at least 5 days a week
  • Make better food choices
    • Eat a balanced diet most days
    • Cut down on eating fatty foods and salt
  • Watch your weight
    • The more you are overweight, the greater your risk
    • If you are overweight, losing just 10 pounds will help
    • Cut down how much you eat – use a smaller plate and eat slowly
  • Watch your blood pressure and cholesterol
    • Get checked at least once a year
    • Ask your doctor about ways to lower high blood pressure or high cholesterol


Record your family health history:

Know your risk for diabetes:

Take steps to prevent type 2 diabetes:

Your Family Health History…
Know your past 
Act in the present
Protect your future


A voluntary group working together to keep you informed about ways to prevent and manage diabetes and heart disease.