Forty-three million U.S. residents -- or 15 percent of the total population -- visited one of the top-10 health-related Web sites last month, data from comScore Media Metrix indicate. That translates into more than a quarter of all U.S.Web users for the month. WebMD drew the most unique visitors at 11 million, followed by sites affiliated with NIH.gov at eight million.
Of note, sites for eDiets (4) and Weight Watchers International (5) shared the top rankings with health portals like AOL Health (3) and Yahoo Health (7).
The rankings come as a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggests a trend toward prevention as a health search topic.
Pew researchers found that looking for information about diet and nutrition saw one of the greatest increases in popularity as a health topic between 2002 and 2004, rising from 44 percent to 51 percent of Internet users.Women demonstrated the trend strongest, ratcheting up their diet and nutrition searches from 48 percent to 59 percent over the last two years.
"People are not just going online when they have a symptom or new diagnosis. They're going online for wellness and prevention information," said Susannah Fox, Pew associate director.