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June 10, 2015 | 2 minute read

Parents are Teens’ Top Source of Health Information

Parents are teens’ top source of health information, with the Internet their go-to source among the media, according to a new study from Northwestern University.

The “Teens, Health & Technology” survey included a nationally representative group of American teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Fifty-five percent of teens reported that they got “a lot” of their health information from parents, followed by health classes at school, medical providers, and the Internet. The study also found that 84% of teens reported turning to the Internet for health information at least once, with about 4 of every 10 researching exercise and nutrition online.

The Internet was by far the primary source of media information: A quarter (25 percent) say they got “a lot” of health information online, compared to 10 percent from books, 9 percent from TV news, 4 percent from radio, 3 percent each from newspapers and magazines. Fitness. exercise, diet and nutrition were the top online search categories.

For social networking sites, One in ten teens (10 percent) say they get “a lot” of health information from Facebook, twitter or other social sites; 23 percent say they get at least “some” health information from such sites.

The survey highlights the importance of helping teens develop digital health literacy skills, the report notes. Read Nutriton Web Cred: Is that True? to how to identify trustworthy sites and red flags of junk science.

SourceTeens, Health and Technology: A National Survey,” (PDF) Northwestern University. June 2015

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