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Watching the Web - Private Healthcare UK reveals UK’s online obsession with obesity and dieting

Press release


New WebWatch survey gives insight into Internet health trends



Private Healthcare UK’s 2006 WebWatch Survey reveals that we are increasingly turning to the web to look for healthcare advice and medical  and treatment.  Health-related web activity continues to increase with the health and medical share of all UK site visits growing by 18% over the last 12 months. There are now some1,100 major healthcare websites in the UK as well as thousands of smaller ones.


It seems that the UK’s continuing obsession with our appearence is helping to drive this growth as four of the top twenty sites most frequently visited relate to obesity, weight loss and dieting. But surprisingly, above ‘body mass index’ and ‘depression’, ‘shingles’ comes out as the top medical term typed into search engines.    


The survey finds that Boots is the most popular health and medical site in the UK followed by NHS Direct. The WebWatch survey also lists the most popular sites for private hospitals, healthcare insurers and cosmetic surgery as well as gender and age profiles.  For example, it appears that more women than men are turning to online healthcare sites with 56.2% female visitors compared to 43.8% men. 


Private HealthCare UK worked with Hitwise* to produce the 2006 WebWatch report that provides this fascinating insight into the UK’s online healthcare sector. 


“The WebWatch survey shows that more and more people are using the web as a source of healthcare information and advice, from online diagnosis to finding the best treatment or private consultant,” says Keith Pollard, Director of Private Healthcare UK.  “And with increasing concern about levels of fitness and obesity, it is quite significant that four of the top twenty health care sites visited relate to weight loss and dieting.”


Private Healthcare UK (www.privatehealth.co.uk) has seen its own market share grow by 39% within the health and medical market over the last twelve months. The site provides the quickest and easiest route to private healthcare services and companies in the UK and is aimed at people who are actively seeking a solution to their healthcare needs.





Notes to editors:

Private Healthcare UK (www.privatehealth.co.uk) is the leading web portal for private healthcare services in the UK, attracting over 170,000 visitors each month. The site is managed by Intuition Communication Ltd.


The Private Healthcare UK Web Watch 2006 Survey has been compiled by Intuition Communication using Hitwise data (www.hitwise.co.uk). Hitwise is an online competitive intelligence tool which monitors activity on 800,000 web sites every day.


Hitwise collects data from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to understand how UK consumers are using the web. Hitwise monitors 8.43 million UK Internet users every day, providing the most extensive sample of Internet usage in the UK.


The anonymous data sent to Hitwise from the ISPs include a range of industry standard metrics relating to the viewing of websites including page requests, visits and average visit length.


Hitwise then combines this activity data with demographic, lifestyle and transactional behaviour across the thousands of websites that are reported on every day.


Hitwise collects web usage statistics from a geographically diverse range of ISP networks in metropolitan and regional areas, representing all types of Internet usage including home, work, educational and public access.