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Holcomb Hathaway, Publishers

Chapter 6 Lab

Disease Risk Tests

View or print this lab as a PDF.


This lab looks at the risks associated with developing some of the leading diseases in the United States. Readers can assess their own risks and also see what factors, including physical activity, can affect the possibility of developing certain diseases.

While online tests and other such surveys cannot take the place of screening tests and discussions with professionals, they can give some basic insight into what behaviors may affect health and wellness.


  • Computer with Internet access


  1. Access the health risk tests at http://www.yourdiseaserisk.wustl.edu/english1. Complete one test from each category (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke).
  2. For each test, note whether there was a question about physical activity, and, if so, what the question asked.
  3. At the end of each test, record your disease risk level.2
  4. Answer the questions provided in the “Questions” section below.
    1. Were there any risk factors or results that surprised you? Why or why not?
    2. How big a role do you think physical activity plays in the prevention of disease?
    3. Do you think these surveys put enough, too much, or not enough weight on physical activity’s role in each disease risk?
    4. Identify three behaviors that you could change to affect the risk results of these tests.
  5. Optional: Have at least 10 of your classmates take the same survey (for example, the Heart Disease Risk survey) and record the risk-level results. For each result, indicate whether the respondent answered “yes” or “no” to the physical activity question. Discuss the results. Do you see any patterns? How do you think physical activity relates to the disease risks reported from the survey? Do you and your classmates agree with the risk assessments? Why or why not?


  1. “Your Disease Risk” tests are from the educational website of the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.
  2. Keep in mind that these results are only an estimation from a compilation of risk factors and do not necessarily mean you will or will not develop the disease.