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PEW Internet Report: The Internet and Health


The Internet as a diagnostic tool

For our September 2012 health survey, we explored how U.S. adults are using the internet and digital technology as tools related to health and healthcare. Among our findings:

81% of U.S. adults use the internet and 59% say they have looked online for health information in the past year. 35% of U.S. adults say they have gone online specifically to try to figure out what medical condition they or someone else might have. 

39% of online health seekers say they looked for information related to their own situation. Another 39% say they looked for information related to someone else’s health or medical situation. An additional 15% of these internet users say they were looking both on their own and someone else’s behalf.

Seven in ten (69%) U.S. adults track a health indicator for themselves or a loved one and many say this activity has changed their overall approach to health, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. In all:
  • 60% of U.S. adults say they track their weight, diet, or exercise routine.
  • 33% of U.S. adults track health indicators or symptoms, like blood pressure, blood sugar, headaches, or sleep patterns.
  • 12% of U.S. adults track health indicators or symptoms for a loved one.
Fore more information on the reports and data associated with these findings, please see: 2012 Health Survey Data.

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