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The online health-information environment is going mobile, particularly among younger adults, according to a new report by Pew Internet & American Life Project.
The Pew Internet Project's latest survey of American adults, conducted in association with the California HealthCare Foundation, found that 85 percent use a cell phone. Of those:
The report finds that younger cell phone users are the most likely group to look up their health information on the go, but the drop-off point is closer to age 50, rather than age 30. Latino cell phone users are significantly more likely than other groups to use their cell phone to look for health information: 25 percent do so, compared with 15 percent of non-Hispanic whites, for example. Cell phone owners living in urban areas are more likely than their suburban and rural counterparts to use their phones to gather health information. And those with incomes of $75,000 or more are also more likely to go to their cell for health information, the report finds.
The report's author Susannah Fox says this means that health-information searches and communications have joined the growing array of non-voice data applications that are being bundled into cell phones, such as text messaging, camera features, Internet access, and software apps.
Even with the proliferation of mobile and online opportunities, however, most adults' search for health information remains anchored in the offline world, she says. Most people turn to a health professional, friend, or family member when they have a health question; the Internet plays a growing but still supplemental role - and mobile connectivity has not changed that, the report concludes.
The Pew report is based on the findings of a daily tracking survey on Americans' use of the Internet. The results in this report are based on data from telephone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International between Aug. 9 and Sept. 13, 2010, among a sample of 3,001 adults, age 18 and older.
Click http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Mobile-Health-2010.aspx)">here to view the full report.
Susannah Fox, Mobile Health 2010, Pew Internet & American Life Project, Oct.19, accessed on Oct. 21.
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