(HealthDay News) – Regular Internet use among older adults is associated with greater cancer-preventative behaviors such as colorectal cancer screening, physical activity, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and not smoking, according to a study published online Oct. 22 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Andre Junqueira Xavier, PhD, from Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina in Palhoça, Brazil, and colleagues surveyed 5,943 adults (aged ≥50 years) in the United Kingdom in 2002 and at four additional waves until 2011. At each wave, Internet use was recorded. At wave 5, screening, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and smoking were recorded. At wave 1, social, cognitive, and physical function variables were recorded, analyzed as predictors of Internet use, and included as covariates in analyses.
The researchers found that 41.4% of respondents reported no Internet use, 38.3% reported intermittent use, and 20.3% reported consistent use. After multivariate adjustment, compared with never users, consistent Internet users were more likely to report colorectal cancer screening, weekly moderate/vigorous physical activity, and consumption of ≥5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. They were also less likely to report smoking. No correlation was observed between Internet use and breast screening.
“Internet use showed a quantitative association with cancer-preventive behaviors even after controlling for various social, cognitive, and physical correlates of Internet use,” Xavier and colleagues conclude.