Knowledge of genetic disease risks seldom leads to lifestyle changes

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In a randomized controlled trial, people who learned their genetic risk of developing type 2 diabetes did not appear to have increased motivation to make lifestyle changes, University of Cambridge researchers reported.

Some researchers and genetic testing companies have posited that people who learn their genetic risk of disease might be better swayed to make lifestyle changes such as increasing their physical activity. However, that does not appear to be the case, researchers led by Cambridge’s Simon Griffin reported….

“This is an important observation, given the expectations that such communications might facilitate behavior change and the concerns about the potential adverse psychological consequences of predictive genetic testing,” the researchers wrote in their paper.

The researchers did, though, find that participants who received a risk estimate had a better understanding of such information. At baseline, participants typically overestimated their risk, but those who received risk estimates had a more accurate perception of their risk afterwards.

They noted that the participants might not have been motivated to make changes as most overestimated their risk of disease and might have been reassured by their results.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original postKnowledge of Genetic Disease Risk Might Not Motivate Behavior Change

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