Background: In the rapidly developing use of the Internet in society, eHealth literacy-having the skills to utilize health information on the Internet-has become an important prerequisite for promoting healthy behavior. However, little is known about whether eHealth literacy is associated with health behavior in a representative sample of adult Internet users. Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the association between eHealth literacy and general health behavior (cigarette smoking, physical exercise, alcohol consumption, sleeping hours, eating breakfast, eating between meals, and balanced nutrition) among adult Internet users in Japan. Methods: The participants were recruited among registrants of a Japanese Internet research service company and asked to answer a cross-sectional Internet-based survey in 2012. The potential respondents (N=10,178) were randomly and blindly invited via email from the registrants in accordance with the set sample size and other attributes. eHealth literacy was assessed using the Japanese version of the eHealth Literacy Scale. The self-reported health behaviors investigated included never smoking cigarettes, physical exercise, alcohol consumption, sleeping hours, eating breakfast, not eating between meals, and balanced nutrition. We obtained details of sociodemographic attributes (sex, age, marital status, educational attainment, and household income level) and frequency of conducting Internet searches. To determine the association of each health behavior with eHealth literacy, we performed a logistic regression analysis; we adjusted for sociodemographic attributes and frequency of Internet searching as well as for other health behaviors that were statistically significant with respect to eHealth literacy in univariate analyses. Results: We analyzed the data of 2115 adults (response rate: 24.04%, 2142/10,178; male: 49.74%, 1052/2115; age: Mean 39.7, SD 10.9 years) who responded to the survey. Logistic regression analysis showed that individuals with high eHealth literacy were significantly more likely to exhibit the good health behaviors of physical exercise (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.377, 95% CI 1.131-1.678) and eating a balanced diet (AOR 1.572, 95% CI 1.274-1.940) than individuals with low eHealth literacy. Conclusions: We found that some health behaviors, including exercise and balanced nutrition, were independently associated with eHealth literacy among Japanese adult Internet users.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics