Health matters. In fact, health is the third most popular topic sought out online. In a national survey, The Pew Internet Project and California HealthCare Foundation measured internet users’ interest in health information online and found out some insightful results, including searches related to food safety, drug safety and pregnancy information. Symptoms and treatments continue to dominate internet users’ health searches.

The most likely groups to look online for health information include adults between ages 18 and 49 who, in the past 12 months, have provided unpaid care to a parent, child, friend, or other loved one. However, fewer than half of African American and Latino adults in the U.S. look online for health information.

Pointing to the user, adults 65 and older also don’t tend to look online for medical advice, nor do those adults with high school education only or less, or have a household income of $30,000 or less. Just 2% of American adults say they have a disability or illness that makes it harder or impossible for them to use the internet. Eight percent of people living with a disability say this is true.

The Pew Internet Project also recently issued a short report noting that people living with disability are less likely than other adults in the U.S. to use the internet: 54%, compared with 81%. Statistically speaking, disability is associated with being older, less educated, and living in a lower-income household. By contrast, internet use is statistically associated with being younger, college-educated, and living in a higher-income household. Thus, it is not surprising that people living with disability report lower rates of internet access than other adults. However, when all of these demographic factors are controlled, living with a disability in and of itself is negatively correlated with someone’s likelihood to have internet access.

Curiously, young people, Latinos and African Americans are increasingly likely to use mobile devices to gather information, which could potentially shift the patterns among those groups when it comes to using health information resources.

Here are some of the statistics contained in the full report concerning most researches topics:

  • 66% of internet users look online for information about a specific disease or medical problem (perennially in the top spot).
  • 56% of internet users look online for information about a certain medical treatment or procedure.
  • 44% of internet users look online for information about doctors or other health professionals.
  • 36% of internet users look online for information about hospitals or other medical facilities.
  • 33% of internet users look online for information related to health insurance, including private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid.
  • 29% of internet users look online for information about food safety or recalls.
  • 24% of internet users look online for information about drug safety or recalls.
  • 19% of internet users look online for information about pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 17% of internet users look online for information about memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s.
  • 16% of internet users look online for information about medical test results.

For the full 33 page report, click HERE.

Written By Sy Kraft, B.A.