Half of Brits favour online health tips over GP advice

The world wide web has given us access to information on almost any subject at the click of a mouse, and according to a new survey, many of us rely heavily on the Internet to provide us with advice on our health.

Brits turn to internet for health advice

Pic: Corbis

The poll of 2,000 British adults, by campaign group Wholegrain Goodness, revealed that 51 per cent of Brits go online for lifestyle and nutrition tips, and some are making lifestyle changes based on the advice they find when they log on.

A further 23 per cent rely on newspapers and magazines for their healthy lifestyle tips, while 18 per cent discussed health matters with their friends.

Just one in five said they would turn to their GP for advice on their general health, and those under 45 were the least likely to visit their doctor for help.

However, it seems all that Googling isn't always providing the answers we need. One in five admitted they had "no idea" whether their diet is healthy, and half of those quizzed were in the dark when it came to the benefits of eating fresh fruit and veg.

Azmina Govindji, a nutritionist and member of the British Dietetic Association, told the Daily Mail: "The research shows people are relying less and less on their GP or dieticians when it comes to seeking medical and nutritional advice... Anything that encourages people to make lifestyle changes for the better has to be a good thing.

"However, it is essential the information they are relying upon is safe, accurate, and ideally, evidence-based."

Dr Tom Brett, Medical Director at Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor, agreed, saying: "Websites such as NHS Choices and Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor offer practical advice on a wide range of health issues and are monitored and updated regularly by registered medical professionals.

"If you do choose to go online for health advice then it's extremely important to make sure that you use a credible website to carry out your research."

Do you prefer to seek health advice online, or is the doctor your first port of call? Leave your comments below...