23andMe, Inc., a personal genetics company based in Mountain View, Calif., announced it will begin offering a new “genetic health predisposition” report on Type 2 diabetes.The report offers customers insight into their likelihood of developing one of the most common, yet largely preventable, health conditions in the U.S.
“Diabetes is a significant health issue in the United States that is expected to impact nearly half of the population,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO, and Co-Founder of 23andMe in a statement. “When customers learn about their genetic likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, we believe there is an opportunity to motivate them to change their lifestyle and ultimately to help them prevent the disease.”
In the United States alone a staggering one in three American adults have prediabetes, and more than 90 percent don’t even know it, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Diet and lifestyle changes, however, can prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes. While genetics, family history, ethnicity, and age all contribute to the likelihood for developing Type 2 diabetes, adopting a healthier diet and making lifestyle changes can reduce the possibility of developing the disease.
That’s where 23andMe’s new report could help: By identifying people who may not know they have a genetic predisposition for diabetes and empowering them with information and tools to make lifestyle choices that can help prevent or delay the development of Type 2 diabetes.The company says results can also aid in facilitating a conversation with your healthcare provider about appropriate screening and how to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place.
How Is The Report Different?
23andMe’s new Type 2 Diabetes report is different from other 23andMe health reports because it was developed and entirely validated using 23andMe research data from more than 2.5 million 23andMe customers who opted into research.
Using this data, 23andMe scientists developed a polygenic score that drew on more than 1,000 genetic variants to calculate a customer’s likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes.Along with looking at those genetic factors, the report also informs customers how other factors such as their weight, age, and lifestyle may influence the likelihood of developing the condition and what actions might make a difference.It also provides educational resources on Type 2 diabetes.
23andMe recently collaborated with Lark Health, a consumer platform using A.I. coaching to manage and prevent chronic disease, to give 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service customers the opportunity to access applications that incorporate their genetic results for diabetes prevention and weight loss counseling.The hope is that the report will help raise awareness about diabetes, as well as the potential to make healthy lifestyle changes to lower one’s likelihood of developing the condition, the company states.