Helen Levy and Kenneth Langa

Helen Levy and Kenneth LangaThe Internet has evolved into a potent tool for providing information on health. But according to a recent study featured Nov. 14 in Medical News Today, elderly Americans who are rarely or never online may be left at a disadvantage as different kinds of medical information migrate to the Internet. A study by ISR researchers Helen Levy and Kenneth Langa found that of Americans aged 65 and over, those with low health literacy were also the least likely to use the Internet. When they did go online, they generally didn’t use the computer to look up health information. Levy and colleagues analyzed data from 1,400 participants in the 2009 and 2010 Health and Retirement Study. Almost 32 percent of participants with good health literacy got health information from the Internet, in contrast with fewer than 10 percent of those with low health literacy. The findings suggest that other ways should be found to boost health literacy among the elderly, Levy said.