Health 2.0 Statistics
Australian online health searches and demographics
Information on Australian’s online health information is scant to say the least.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics  tells us that
- Australia has a population of over 22 million
- Australia’s life expectancy at birth remains among the highest in the world—almost 84 years for women and 79 years for men 
but what about their use of the internet and social media in relation to health? There is precious little in the way of information to be found.
There is some data on hospitals using social media in Australia
but that doesn’t tell us anything about the use of social medicine by the general population as a whole. [Update: US study shows physician social media usage more than doubled in 2010]
To give us some idea of online health habits, Pew Internet provided some excellent statistics related to search in America:
- About a third (31%) of online teens ages 12 to 17 use the internet to look for health, dieting or physical fitness information
- Older teens are more likely than younger teens to look online for health information (38% of teens ages 14-17 vs. 13% of teens ages 12-13).
- Teens also use the internet to look for information on health topics that are hard to talk about, like drug use, sexual health or depression.
- One in six (17%) internet-using teens look online for information about sensitive health topics.
- Girls are more likely than boys to look online for sensitive health information (23% vs. 11%).
- Younger boys are the least likely group to look for information on a health topic that is hard to talk about—just 4% of online boys ages 12-13 have done so, compared with 13% of older boys ages 14-17.
- Teens from the lowest- income families – those earning less than US$30,000 annually – are the most likely to seek health information online. Just about a quarter (23%) of online low-income teens look for health information compared with 11% of teens from households earning more than $75,000 a year.
- In 2009, there are no racial or ethnic or education level differences in those who look for sensitive health information online compared with those who did not.
If you do have information on Australia’s use of the internet in relation to health I’d be delighted to hear about it and add it to the list of web metrics.