Above money, work or love, what today’s young people value most is having good health. A survey of 1,500 adolescents between 15 and 29 years old reveals that physical and mental well-being is their main concern. Physical activity, mental health and nutrition are the topics that interest them most. To find out about it, the Internet and social networks are the second source of information they turn to, even before specialist doctors or their own family members.
Two out of every three young people surveyed worry a lot or quite a bit about their health. The study Technological innovation applied to health care: The perspective of adolescents and young people carried out by the Fad Juventud Foundation together with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer has revealed the frequency with which they use technologies for any matter related to well-being. For example, 34% of respondents use the Internet every day for health care issues. Three out of ten do it weekly. It is true that the covid pandemic increased concern about health, but young people were already using technological tools to inform themselves about these matters before March 2020. “Concern has decreased compared to 2021, but the figures have not returned to the levels prior to 2020,” stressed Anna Sanmartín, deputy director of the Reina Sofía Center on Adolescence and Youth, during the presentation of the study.
When they have questions about prevention, care or symptoms, they first consult their family doctor, then they research social networks, then they talk to specialist doctors and relegate fourth place to their mothers. Mainly, they use technologies to take care of themselves, prevent and improve their well-being and to promote a healthy lifestyle. According to the study, seven out of ten use the networks when they have any symptoms or are not feeling well. Also, about 70% seek information about a health problem by consulting someone close to them.
Among the tools most used in relation to health, the most used are apps wellness and physical monitoring: step counter (31.4%); food (29.5%); menstruation (28.4%); and physical performance or training (26.7%).
There are clear differences between the interests of women and men of this age. They use technologies more to consult on issues about physical activity (mainly fitness and running) and for food issues, such as diets and weight loss. On the other hand, they are more interested in mental health issues, such as anxiety, stress and depression; and aesthetics, such as skin and hair care. Some minor health problems also appear among their interests, such as sore throat and cold, or sexual and reproductive health issues. The most searched in the last category are menstruation, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
Young people, as self-taught in technology, are used to looking for health tools and applications and use them to inform themselves. And they pay attention to the pages they are looking at to find answers to their questions. The research indicates that they place greater trust in websites or digital content endorsed by health organizations or professionals and trust more in the information provided by professionals than that offered generally on the Internet and social networks. “Young people are increasingly aware that there are hoaxes about health, but they do not always have the means to corroborate the information. We are well on our way in that sense, although there are things to improve,” said Sanmartín during the presentation of the study.
The new digital patients
Why do they get more information through the internet? Seven out of ten say that they are more interested in the information available online than that from their doctor because it is closer, clearer and easier to consult. The same proportion indicates that “it is more visual and complete”, as it is complemented with videos or photographs.
Around 56% say that by following specialized accounts on health they consider that they are more informed on matters related to it, and just over half (52.7%) say that they find the answer to their concerns sooner if they search for it on the internet What if you go to the doctor? Finally, more than one in three (35%) confess that they also do it to avoid “unnecessary consultations” with the doctor.
Young people do not seek to replace the health system with technologies, but they have their demands. They prefer to use digital applications to manage their medical appointments, access test results and personal health files, or to have telematic consultations. For this reason, nearly 40% consider that it would be an important advance to improve the digital platforms of the health system and ask to guarantee quality telematic health care. Among the innovations they propose is also the improvement of the training of health professionals in the use of technologies.
#young #people #check #symptoms #online #feel #unwell