Enquiring minds want to know: Topics requested by users of a children's health information website

UCL Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom.
Patient Education and Counseling (Impact Factor: 2.2). 08/2008; 72(1):168-71. DOI: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.02.014
Source: PubMed


To investigate health information needs of users of a health information website for children and young people.
A prospective analysis was conducted of unsolicited information requests to the Children First for Health ( website, an NHS-run health and hospital online information resource for children, young people and families. All specific and general enquiries were recorded prospectively and coded according to health topic, age of the enquirer and web pages accessed.
There were 2865 (62%) general health information and 924 (21%) specific enquiries received over an 18-month period (6.3 enquiries per day). More general enquiries were received about adolescent (64%) than children's (36%) health issues. The most common topics were psychosocial issues, hospital and health services, and normal growth and development. Only 1% of requests for information related to smoking, alcohol and drugs.
Children and adolescents are active users of the Internet for health information. The results of this study highlight the health topics that are of greatest interest to children and young people.
The findings provide objective data on health information topics of interest to UK children and young people and can be used to guide development of health information aimed at UK youth.

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