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Health Informatics J. 2019 Sep;25(3):973-983. doi: 10.1177/1460458217735675. Epub 2017 Oct 19.

How we use the Internet matters for health: The relationship between various online health-related activities and preventive dietary behaviors.

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Konkuk University, Korea.


This study identified specific types of online health-related activities that may promote preventive dietary behaviors. Two cycles (Cycles 1 and 3) of the Health Information National Trends Survey 4 were analyzed (N = 2606 and 2284, respectively; Internet users only). Similar types of activities were grouped to create three types of online activities: information seeking, engagement in health information technology, and social media use. In both cycles, online health information seeking and the engagement in health information technology were positively associated with two dietary behaviors (fruit/vegetable consumption and using menu information on calories) but not with soda consumption. Individuals may be exposed to new information or become more aware of their current health status through information seeking or health information technology engagement. However, social media use for health was not related to any of the dietary behavior. The results suggest that "how we use the Internet" may make a difference in health outcomes.


dietary behaviors; health information technology; online health information seeking; online health-related activities; social media


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