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Use of the Internet for Health Information in the US

stethoscope and computer

A new U.S. survey finds that women are more likely than men to use the Internet for medical information, and whites are more likely to do so than minorities.

According to the findings released Thursday by the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, whites aged 18 to 64 were almost twice as likely as Hispanics to search for health information online.

Other key findings from the 2009 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)  include:

  • Fifty-seven percent of whites surveyed had looked up medical information on the Internet in the previous 12 months, compared to 38 percent of blacks, 29 percent of Hispanics and 48 percent of Asians.
  • Among those aged 18 to 64, employed people (53 percent) were more likely than the unemployed (41 percent) to look for health information online, and people with higher incomes in that age group were about twice as likely to do so as those with lower incomes.
  • Among adults aged 25 – 64, higher education was associated with increased use of the Internet for health information.
  • Those with private health insurance were more likely to seek health information online over the past year (59 percent did so) than those with government-funded Medicaid insurance (31 percent) or no coverage (33 percent).

See also the news story from Health Day News at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_114547.html .

The complete NCHS Data Brief can be accessed via: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db66.htm .

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