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Genetic, behavioral health views studied

Bethesda, Md. -- A U.S. study suggests young adults view health habits as more important than genetic risk factors when considering what causes common diseases.

The study by the National Human Genome Research Institute and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit was based on a survey of adults ages 25 to 45 and is part of the Multiplex Initiative, a study of how healthy young people use genetic risk-susceptibility tests.

Multiplex genetic testing involves a single blood sample that is used to detect multiple genetic results, providing individuals with a comparative risk value for certain conditions compared with the general population.

A key focus was the respondents' perception of how health behaviors and genetic makeup could cause a disease. The researchers also investigated whether people hearing about a disease placed more importance on learning about behaviors or genetics.

The scientists found two-thirds of the participants put greater emphasis on learning about the effects of lifestyle habit. People with more habits that put their health at risk tended to favor genetics to explain health conditions. They also tended to place less value on learning about how health habits affect disease risk.

The study is reported in the early online edition of the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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