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Medical News and Perspectives
March 16, 2005

Seniors Seeking Health Information Need Help Crossing “Digital Divide”

JAMA. 2005;293(11):1310-1312. doi:10.1001/jama.293.11.1310

A generation ago it was sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll that distinguished many baby boomers from their parents. Now that rock shares the stage with hip-hop, drugs are by prescription, and sex comes in a pill, a striking difference between the baby boomers and the generation ahead of them is Internet use, particularly for tracking down health information.

A recent national survey that the Kaiser Family Foundation (Menlo Park, Calif) released in January showed that less than one third (31%) of individuals in the United States aged 65 years or older have ever gone online, including e-mail use. The figure drops to 18% for those aged 75 years or older. But of the so-called near seniors—those aged 50 to 64 years, which includes a large segment of baby boomers—some 70% have used the Internet.

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