More Women Get Heart Disease Information from *the Newspaper* Than the Internet?
Last week, I posted at Our Bodies Our Blog about a new study of American women’s knowledge of heart disease and prevention published in the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation. There, I noted my surprise how many women in the sample still did not identify heart disease as the leading cause of death for women, who would not call 911 right away, and who still believed hormone replacement was an effective preventive measure (rather than a risk increaser).
The study survey was not given to a huge sample of women – ~1100 to ~2200 depending on the survey method – but one other item caught my eye that I didn’t get into at the OBOS blog – where the women reported getting their information about heart disease.
The reported sources of information about heart disease were as follows:
-The Internet: 14%
Their Doctor: 48%
Really, only 14% for the internet? More women reported getting heart disease info from the newspaper than the internet? In 2009? I find this extremely surprising. I know that not everybody has internet access, but according to Pew, 74% use the internet and 60% have broadband at home; newspaper subscriptions continue to decline. Maybe people are counting online magazines and newspapers as “magazines” and “newspapers” but not including them as part of “the Internet?”
I don’t have a well-developed theory of explanation, I just found it odd. Maybe it was a weird sample. Maybe the question was asked in a less than ideal way. Maybe sources of info on heart disease weren’t specific enough to women to trigger recall in the respondents. The relevant survey question asked respondents where in the last 12 months they had seen, heard, or read about women and heart disease, and provided for multiple choices including: magazine; radio; book; tv; brochure; healthcare professional; newspaper; “Internet or World Wide Web;” friend or relative; library; nothing; don’t know; refused.
Unfortunately, the “library” results are not provided, although I’m not sure how respondents and analysts could reliably sort that out the from books, magazines, newspapers, and web access provided by libraries.
For those who are seeking information on heart disease and women online, here are some good starting points:
MedlinePlus: Heart Disease in Women
National Women’s Health Information Center: Heart Disease
American Heart Association: Women, Heart Disease, and Stroke
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: The Healthy Heart Handbook for Women [PDF]