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4/22/2010
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Internet Use Lower Among Chronically Ill

Socioeconomic conditions decrease the ability of adults with chronic diseases to gain Internet access.

In an online world where people empower themselves by gathering information over the Internet, a new study shows that online access for adults living with chronic disease is significantly less when compared with healthy individuals.

The survey, which was conducted by the Pew Internet Project and the California HealthCare Foundation, shows that 81% of adults that don't have a chronic disease go online, versus 62% of those living with one or multiple chronic conditions.

Furthermore, the more diseases someone has, the less likely they will be to have Internet access, the survey showed.

Indeed, 68% of adults reporting one chronic disease go online, versus 52% of adults living with two or more chronic illnesses.

"These findings are in line with overall trends in public health and technology adoption. Statistically speaking, chronic disease is associated with being older, African American, less educated, and living in a lower-income household. By contrast, Internet use is statistically associated with being younger, white, college-educated, and living in a higher-income household. Thus, it is not surprising that the chronically ill report lower rates of Internet access than other adults," the report said. The survey, which interviewed 2,253 adults, asked about five chronic diseases: high blood pressure, lung conditions, heart conditions, diabetes, and cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of American adults live with at least one chronic illness. These diseases rank among the top killers in the United States and represent a significant portion of healthcare spending.

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