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International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1756473, 9 pages
https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/1756473
Research Article

The Internet Use for Health Information Seeking among Ghanaian University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study

1Department of Geography and Rural Development, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
2Department of Geography and Resource Development, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana

Correspondence should be addressed to Benedict Osei Asibey

Received 12 May 2017; Revised 10 August 2017; Accepted 5 September 2017; Published 31 October 2017

Academic Editor: Malcolm Clarke

Copyright © 2017 Benedict Osei Asibey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate university students’ use of the Internet for health purpose in the Ghanaian context. The study employed a quantitative cross-sectional design. A total of 650 out of 740 students selected from 3 different universities participated, giving a response rate of 87.7% (650/740). Data were obtained using questionnaires and frequency and percentages were used to analyze data. The results show that university students are active users of the Internet as 78.3% (509/650) used Internet daily and 67.7% (440/650) use Internet for health purposes, for reasons including availability and ease of accessing information, privacy, confidentiality, and affordability. Use of Internet was constrained by unreliable and slow connection, high cost of Internet, and unreliable power supply. Also, 72.4% (315/435) used the online health information obtained as a basis for lifestyle change and only 39.5% (170/430) consulted health professionals after obtaining online information. The study concludes that students use Internet to seek online health support. The use of Internet to communicate with young people in relation to their health must therefore be explored. There is the need to be aware of online safety issues for young adults, including the need to provide information on privacy options.