U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Keep In Touch with a Family Health Buddy

Remember the buddy system as a kid? Encourage family members to look out for one another’s kidney health.​

Family reunions are a wonderful time to celebrate history and enjoy the company of those near and dear. They are also a great opportunity to gather everyone and talk about family health, including the connection between diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney disease. Sharing your family’s health history during the event is the first step, but it is also important to follow up with health concerns after the reunion.

One way to do this is to designate a “family health buddy” for each family member at this year’s family reunion. Ask family members to pair up and exchange contact information. Then, ask everyone to commit to follow up with their family health buddy at some point over the next three months to check on his or her health.

Recommend that family members use email, phone calls, social media, and even text messages to encourage and support each other regularly. This is especially important for those who have kidney disease risk factors, like diabetes and high blood pressure, because early kidney disease often shows no signs or symptoms. Following up can make a big difference in your family members’ kidney health at next year’s reunion.

An image of a mother and her son smiling

Here are messages you and your family can use for a virtual health check-in:

  • “Hi family! Your health is important. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, don’t forget to talk to your health care provider about kidney disease testing.”
  • “Hi family! Be sure to maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, and reduce sodium in your diet. Ask me how.”
  • “Hi family! Have you checked in on your Health Buddy this week? Make a promise to support each other. Strive for healthier kidneys.”

A friendly reminder gives you and other family members a chance to express your love and concern. It may be just what family members at risk need to take the next step and talk with their health care provider about getting checked for kidney disease.

July 9, 2014​​​​​

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