updated 3/14/2011 2:10:33 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:10:33

The online health‐information environment is going mobile, particularly among younger adults, according to a new study.

The Pew Internet Project's latest survey of American adults, conducted in association with the California HealthCare Foundation, revealed on Tuesday that 17 percent of cell phone users look up health or medical information on their device.

This is especially popular among cell owners age 18 to 29. In fact, 29 percent of this demographic have done such searches.

Many consumers also have health-related apps on their smartphones to get nutrition information, count calories, calculate body mass index and learn new exercises, the survey found.

Cell phone users between 18‐29 years old are more likely than older cell owners to use mobile health apps: 15 percent do so, compared with eight percent of cell users ages 30‐49.

Nine percent of all cell owners have apps on their phones that help them track or manage their health.

"I was surprised to see that almost one in ten cell phone users have a health app. I thought it would be lower,” said Susannah Fox, Associate Director of Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and author of the report.

"I wasn't, however, surprised to see the higher rate of adoption of both activities among young people. People in their twenties are taking advantage of mobile in really interesting ways -- socially, politically, donating money during crises, and now we can add health to that lineup," Fox told TechNewsDaily.

Although the study didn't reveal any significant differences between gender or certain income using health apps, it did find that African American cell phone owners are more likely than other groups to use such apps (15 percent) compared to white (15 percent) and Latino (11 percent) cell phone users.

Urban cell phone owners are also more likely than those who live in suburban or rural areas to have a mobile health app on their phone.

© 2012 TechNewsDaily


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