Women & Health: Old Habits, New Internet

It’s been long established that women are more likely to go to the doctor than men. Now we have data to support the corollary for the digital age: women are (surprise!) more likely than men to take to the Internet for health research.

The latest report from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (via HealthDay and iHealthBeat) shows that women search at a higher rate than men in almost every age group. One exception was among adults older than 65, where men held a slight lead over women (24.4% to 21.9%) in searching online for health data in the year previous to the 2009 National Health Interview Survey, which served as the foundation for the report.

Other groups more likely to use the Internet to look up health information:

  • people with private insurance
  • people with higher incomes
  • people with more education

It’s unfortunate that the old joke about men not going to see a doctor unless something’s cut off or they’re dying still holds true today, especially since the threshold to perform health research online is so much lower than that of taking a trip to an actual doctor’s office. Maybe it’s getting the wrong (unreliable) information that people fear.


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