New Reports Show More Americans Use the Web to Answer Health Questions, Overall Cancer Death Rates Dropping, and Americans have Shorter Life Expectancies Due to Lifestyle Choices - Health Minute for January 24, 2013
More than half of Americans have used the Internet to answer their health questions, according to new research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project. 59 percent of Americans have found health information online, and 35 percent say they have logged online specifically to try to learn what a particular symptom meant. 46 percent of those who went online reported subsequently going to a medical professional to confirm a diagnosis and for treatment, while 38 percent opted for self-care and stopped after their online search. The Pew study found that those with more education and higher incomes were more likely to use the Internet as a primary diagnostic tool.
A new report finds that overall cancer death rates from 2000 to 2009 continued to decline in the United States among both men and women, among all major racial and ethnic groups, and for all of the most common cancers. The decline in overall cancer death rates continues a trend that began in the early 1990s. However, the annual report also found that death rates continued to increase for melanoma of the skin, and for cancers of the liver, pancreas, and uterus. The report was co-authored by researchers from the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Cancer Institute, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
A report from The National Research Council and The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences finds that American children, men, and women all have shorter life expectancies than those in Japan, Canada, Australia, and 13 European countries. The U.S. fared worse than the 16 other countries in 9 health categories, including deaths from car accidents and homicides, deaths from alcohol and illegal drugs, prevalence of HIV infection and AIDS, chronic lung disease, obesity and diabetes, and heart disease. The report shows that many of the reasons behind why American life expectancy lags relates to lifestyle decisions, not to medical care. For example, American deaths from car accidents are greater because Americans drive more. Gun violence is much greater in the U.S. Deaths from lung disease are higher because smoking was more common here in the past. Americans are much more likely to use cocaine and other drugs. The report also found that Americans are much fatter than individuals in these other countries, contributing to the greater incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
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