When you hop on the computer, what’s the first thing you do? According to a new study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, checking your email and using search engines were the top two activities, respectively. The third most popular activity, with eight in ten users, is looking online for health information.
Among the breakdown, women (65 percent) were more likely to seek health information online than men (53 percent), supporting the belief that women are typically the “Chief Medical Officer” of the family. The study also found that the younger an adult is, the more likely he or she is to look up health information: 71 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 turn to the web, versus 29 percent among those 65 and older. Additionally, adults with at least some college education and those living in higher‐income households were also likely to go online for health information.
So, what do people search? According to Pew, most often web users research specific conditions and diseases (66 percent), followed by medical treatments and procedures (56 percent), doctors and other care providers (44 percent), medical facilities (36 percent), health insurance (33 percent) and food safety and recalls (29 percent). However, nearly half of Internet users who went online for health information said the research was for someone else, 53 percent of which were caregivers. The study found that web users who are between the ages of 30 to 49 are the most likely age group to be focused on other people. Among the “sandwich generation” respondents, two‐thirds were caring for young children while also looking for information on behalf of aging relatives.
The report also mentions that a report will be out this spring which will profile caregivers. If this study is any indication, that report should provide some interesting insight.