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172564 Internet use and online health information seeking among African-American and Hispanic adults: An urban community survey
Monday, October 27, 2008: 12:45 PM
The Internet holds potential to reduce inequities in access to health information; however, barriers exist to its use as vehicle for health promotion. In order to understand and address barriers and create more effective Internet health messaging tools, we sought to assess Internet use and online health information seeking in a lower-income, urban population. A total of 646 respondents completed a random digit dial landline phone survey in Harlem, New York City. The majority of respondents had used a computer (77%) and the Internet (65%), and about half (52%) were categorized as current Internet users. Similar to results from national studies, findings indicated that younger, better educated, more affluent individuals were more likely to use the Internet. In regard to health information, 43% of respondents reported searching for information on health or medical issues online; of those, 84% agreed that the Internet improved their understanding of symptoms, conditions, or treatments, and 47% agreed that it affected the way they eat or exercise. However, of the total sample, 31% reported having difficulty understanding the health information they read, and 36% said it was hard to find good answers to health questions and concerns. Although digital connectivity continues to exist along a spectrum influenced by education and income, evidence suggests that people of color residing in low-income communities are going online and have interest in using the Internet for health information seeking. Further research is needed to determine how best to utilize this medium to convey literacy-level appropriate health messages.
Keywords: Internet, Health Information
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I, Dr. Alwyn Cohall, am qualified to be an abstract Author on the content I am responsible for because I am the Principal Investigator on the project and supervised the development and implementation of the phone survey, as well as the reporting of findings.
I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.
See more of: Responding to Diversity in Health Education and Health Promotion
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