OBJECTIVE To describe the relation between risk perception of people with relatives who have been hospitalized with diabetes mellitus, and also their modifiable risk factors. MATERIAL AND METHOD We applied a validated questionnaire to a hundred of people who have any relatives with diabetes mellitus, because we wanted to know their perception for risk of this disease and their modifiable risk factors, as obesity, sedentary life style and meals. We think that the relatives who have two or more modifiable risk factors have a higher probability to develop diabetes mellitus than the relatives who have only one of them. RESULTS The risk perception to develop diabetes in patients' relatives could be 87%; 67% has fat, and 73% has a sedentary life style. So, the relation among the modification of risk factors and the risk perception towards diabetes mellitus was not really significant (p = 0.399, RR 0.94, IC 0.80-1.10 to 95%), but there is a statistical relation among high risk for diabetes mellitus acquisition and gender (chi2 5.0, p < 0.05, RR 1.61, IC 1.00 < Rr -2.58), when we associate the variable age and obesity (chi2 7.9, p < 0.05, RR 0.59, IC 0.37-0.93). CONCLUSIONS More of 50 % patients' relatives are in a high risk to develop diabetes mellitus because they have a similar life style than the patient had before getting the illness. For this reason, we suggest a different educational and cultural orientation in Mexico to identify all people in risk and do following of previous parameters about their health.