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Take 12 Steps for Health

Take 12 Calendar


August 2017

Step 8: Know Your Family’s Health History

A family medical history can identify people with a higher-than-usual chance of having common disorders, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, certain cancers, and diabetes.

Making Healthy Strides


Do your homework and research to find your personal risk factors and learn how to make better health choices.

Get screenings, physicals and check-ups done together as a family. Learn and try foods that may help with prevention.

My Family Health Tree

Did you know that just like the color of our eyes or how tall we are, other things like health conditions can be passed down genetically from one family member to another? It is important to know what health conditions and diseases are in our family history so that we can make healthy choices to help reduce our risk for getting those conditions ourselves. Having a blood relative with certain health conditions or diseases (like heart disease), can increase our risk for getting those conditions too.

To learn about what health conditions and diseases are in your family, look at your family’s health history. The American Heart Association has a useful Family Tree diagram tool to make a map of all your blood relatives and their health history. This will help you to see which health conditions and diseases you may be at risk for. After finishing your family tree, talk to your parents and family members about how knowing their health history can help them make healthy life choices. Talk to your doctor or school nurse about your health history during your next visit. Even though some diseases can be passed down to us, by making healthy food and lifestyle choices, we can decrease our chances of having some of these health conditions.

You can find the My Family Health Tree tool from the American Heart Association, search for "My Family Health Tree."

Source: American Heart Association

It Runs in my Family

Knowing your family health history is very important for understanding your own health. You may have conditions that run in your family, though that does not necessarily mean you will be affected. Genetics go a long way in determining how healthy we will ultimately be. However, environmental influences, and social practices can have a big role in what health conditions develop or don’t develop. Eating nutritiously, exercising, and getting regular health checkups are all good ways to keep a handle on your health, no matter what your genetic code decides to hand you.

The University of Utah has a wonderful tool for answering questions about these different aspects of health. Find it at University of Utah - Family Health History.

Source: The University of Utah, "Family Health History"

Get Info for the 50+ Crowd at the Park Authority’s 50+ Web Portal

50+ Connect, Engage, PlayThe Fairfax County Park Authority has launched a website specifically for residents age 50 or older. The 50+ Engage-Connect-Play portal provides one-stop shopping for information on Fitness & Wellness, Arts & Learning, Gardening & Adventure, Giving Back, and more that’s geared toward Baby Boomers and active seniors.

Learn More at Fairfax County Park Authority - Fifty Plus.


Fairfax County Park Authority Take 12 Sponsors
Take 12 Steps for Family Health
Take 12 Steps for Your Health in 2017 Calendar

Download Your

12 Months, 12 healthy goals. Don't miss out on this year's great wellness opportunities in the Fairfax County community! The calendar contains fitness and wellness tips, ways to improve your nutritional habits, and better health ideas for kids, teens and adults. Also, the calendar contains coupons to use throughout the year. STEP UP to better health!

The Take 12 program is free and anyone can participate at any time. This program is designed to:

  • Help you accomplish healthy goals each month, with tips to keep you going for the duration.
  • Give you access to information - free workshops are available each month on different healthy topics and bulletin boards loaded with information are posted at all the RECenters.
  • Provide an opportunity for you to experience fitness and wellness programs offered across Fairfax County.
  • Empower you to make important lifestyle changes... you can do it!
  • Plus, sign-up to receive the monthly e-newsletter, packed with recipes and healthy tips, upcoming events, and opportunities to achieve your Take 12 goals!

pledge card

Download the Take 12 Pledge


Take 12 Newsletter

2017 Healthy Strides Community 5k/10K, Burke Lake Park, April 22, 2017


Healthy Workshops and Events are always being added!
Check our events calendar often for great opportunities in the community.

All events are free (unless indicated with a "$") and require advanced registration.
To register, please email


We are looking for people who have used the Take 12 program and found better health as a result of their participation. We are also looking for any kind of feedback about the program - the calendar, events, workshops, tips, articles - anything that you want to tell us, we're listening! Email us at


Phone: 703-324-8423

Mailing Address:
Fairfax County Park Authority
Attn: Take 12 Program
12055 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 425
Fairfax, VA 22035-1118

All content within is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your doctor if you are concerned about your health. Always consult your physician or health care provider before taking any new medication, beginning any program of exercise, or following any health or wellness advice contained herein.

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