New Harvard website recommendations could help prevent over half of all chronic disease in the U.S.

The Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention announced the launch of Your Disease Risk (, an expanded version of its popular cancer risk assessment website, Your Cancer Risk.

Your Disease Risk offers users the chance to find out their risk of five of the most important diseases in the United States and get personalized tips for preventing them.

Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis now join the 12 cancers included in the original website. Together, these diseases have a staggering impact on the nation’s health, but they are also highly preventable and share many of the same risk factors. Healthy lifestyles could prevent over 80 percent of heart disease and diabetes, 70 percent of strokes, and 50 percent of cancers.

“Your Disease Risk pulls all these important diseases into one place and offers people consistent, practical prevention messages for each,” said Dr. Graham Colditz, Director of the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The far-reaching benefits of a healthy lifestyle become apparent as people click through the site and see that a single risk factor can impact their risk of many diseases -- something we hope will inspire them to make healthy behavior changes.”

As with the original site, users fill out brief questionnaires and get descriptions of their risk in the form of a colored bar graph. The bar graph is a 7-level scale that compares users to typical men or women their age. Users can click on personalized strategies to learn where to focus their prevention efforts and how to make lifestyle changes. With each click, the bar graph shrinks, and users watch their risk drop.

Your Disease Risk was developed with the same evidence-based, consensus approach that was used for the original cancer site, Your Cancer Risk. Epidemiologists, clinicians, and other faculty experts from the Harvard medical community reviewed the current scientific evidence for each disease, identifying the established and probable risk factors of each. This information was then used to develop calculations that generate a person’s risk of disease compared to population averages by age and sex.

“Your Disease Risk is an excellent health checkpoint for people,” continued Dr. Colditz. “You can enter the site, and find out within a few minutes what your risk is and how to lower it. This interactive approach really seems to resonate with people, given the popularity of our cancer site.”

Your Disease Risk:

For additional information visit the Your Disease Risk media information page.

Based at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention promotes prevention as the primary approach to controlling cancer and other chronic diseases. Established in 1994, the Center draws on Harvard's strengths in public health and medicine and on the expertise of leading cancer researchers worldwide. The Center conducts and summarizes research into causes of cancer and then translates these findings into priorities for cancer prevention strategies. For more information on the Center visit

Your Cancer Risk was launched in 2000 and received over 1 million hits its first day online. It has averaged 900 to 1000 unique visitors every day for the past four years, making it the most successful website at the Harvard School of Public Health. 


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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