The association between online health information-seeking behaviors and health behaviors among hispanics in New York city: A community-based cross-sectional study

Young Ji Lee, Bernadette Boden-Albala, Haomiao Jia, Adam Wilcox, Suzanne Bakken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States and they suffer from a disproportionate burden of chronic diseases. Studies have shown that online health information has the potential to affect health behaviors and influence management of chronic disease for a significant proportion of the population, but little research has focused on Hispanics. Objective: The specific aim of this descriptive, cross-sectional study was to examine the association between online health information-seeking behaviors and health behaviors (physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, alcohol use, and hypertension medication adherence) among Hispanics. Methods: Data were collected from a convenience sample (N=2680) of Hispanics living in northern Manhattan by bilingual community health workers in a face-to-face interview and analyzed using linear and ordinal logistic regression. Variable selection and statistical analyses were guided by the Integrative Model of eHealth Use. Results: Only 7.38% (198/2680) of the sample reported online health information-seeking behaviors. Levels of moderate physical activity and fruit, vegetable, and alcohol consumption were low. Among individuals taking hypertension medication (n=825), adherence was reported as high by approximately one-third (30.9%, 255/825) of the sample. Controlling for demographic, situational, and literacy variables, online health information-seeking behaviors were significantly associated with fruit (β=0.35, 95% CI 0.08-0.62, P=.01) and vegetable (β=0.36, 95% CI 0.06-0.65, P=.02) consumption and physical activity (β=3.73, 95% CI 1.99-5.46, P<.001), but not alcohol consumption or hypertension medication adherence. In the regression models, literacy factors, which were used as control variables, were associated with 3 health behaviors: social networking site membership (used to measure one dimension of computer literacy) was associated with fruit consumption (β=0.23, 95% CI 0.05-0.42, P=.02), health literacy was associated with alcohol consumption (β=0.44, 95% CI 0.24-0.63, P<.001), and hypertension medication adherence (β=-0.32, 95% CI -0.62 to -0.03, P=.03). Models explained only a small amount of the variance in health behaviors. Conclusions: Given the promising, although modest, associations between online health information-seeking behaviors and some health behaviors, efforts are needed to improve Hispanics' ability to access and understand health information and to enhance the availability of online health information that is suitable in terms of language, readability level, and cultural relevance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere261
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Volume17
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2015

Keywords

  • Consumer health information
  • Health behavior
  • Hispanic Americans
  • Information-seeking behavior
  • Internet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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