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IT-Using Health Educators

WHO definition of HEALTH: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

As the following brief news item indicates, many people make use of the Web to retrieve health-related information.

Eighty percent of Internet users turn to the Web for answers to their health-related questions, according to a survey by Harris Interactive. These "cyberchondriacs," as Harris calls them, average three health-information searches a month, usually conducted via search engine or portal rather than a pure "e-health" site. The numbers extrapolated from the poll suggest that 53% of everyone 18 and older in the U.S. are seeking health information on the Web. "These data show that the Internet continues to be used by huge, and growing, numbers of the public interested in getting information about particular diseases or treatments or about staying healthy," said Harris in a press release. "The results also demonstrate the critical importance for health care Web sites to be quickly and easily accessible through search engines and portals." (Newsbytes 1 May 2002) http://www.newsbytes.com/
news/02/176294.html (NewsScan Daily, 2 May 2002)


Digital Hospital. (AP/USA Today 27 Mar 2001) http://www.usatoday.com/life/cyber/tech/2001-03-27-hospital.htm (NewsScan Daily, 28 March 2001)

Each bed in HealthSouth's new $100-125 million hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, will have an Internet connection that doctors and nurses can use to access and update patient records. The hospital will open in 2003, and HealthSouth is considering building similar facilities in ten other U.S. cities. The company's chief executive says HealthSouth is "making reality out of something that many people have talked about but no one has attempted."


Young students may risk long-term injury by not observing proper ergonomic posture when using a computer, medical experts say. Although the problems associated with poor posture and computer use, such as neck and back strain and carpal tunnel syndrome, are well known among adults, medical experts have expressed concern that schools, in their rush to give all students access to computers, have ignored the potential for problems in children. Few studies of the problem have occurred in the United States. However, a recent study of 1,404 students by Professor Leon Straker of Curtain University of Technology, Perth, Australia, found that most did not follow proper ergonomic procedures and that 60 percent of the Australian children he studied had ergonomic-related medical problems. A study of children by Cornell University found that 60 percent had a posture classified as "high-risk" while they used a computer. However, education officials say ergonomics is unlikely to be a major concern for schools. Outfitting students' desks to be ergonomically proper is too expensive, the officials argue. It would also be impractical as many students share each computer terminal during the day. (New York Times, 4 January 2001) (Edupage, January 8, 2001).

Health on the Net Foundation [Online]. Accessed 6/11/01: http://www.hon.ch/. Quoting from the Website:

The Health On the Net Foundation (HON), created in 1995, is a not-for-profit International Swiss Organization. HON's mission is to guide lay persons or non-medical users and medical practitioners to useful and reliable online medical and health information. HON provides leadership in setting ethical standards for Web site developers.

Over 2,000 illustrations on 1,400 topics selected by HON from various sources.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) [Online]. Accessed 6/11/01: http://www.nih.gov/. Quoting from the Website:

The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by:
  • conducting research in its own laboratories;
  • supporting the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad;
  • helping in the training of research investigators; and
  • fostering communication of medical information.

The NIH is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Services which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Comprised of 27 separate components, mainly Institutes and Centers, NIH has 75 buildings on more than 300 acres in Bethesda, MD. From a total of about $300 in 1887, the NIH budget has grown to more than $20.3 billion in 2001.

NUTRITION.GOV [Online]. Accessed 6/15/01: http://www.nutrition.gov/home/index.php3. Quoting from the Website:

NUTRITION.GOV, a new federal resource, provides easy access to all online federal government information on nutrition. This national resource makes obtaining government information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety, easily accessible in one place for many Americans. Providing accurate scientific information on nutrition and dietary guidance is critical to the public's ability to make the right choices in the effort to curb obesity and other food related diseases in launching this new Website.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [Online]. Accessed 6/11/01: http://www.os.dhhs.gov/. Quoting from the Website:

The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves.

World Health Organization (WHO) [Online]. Accessed 6/11/01: http://www.who.int/home-page/. Quoting from the Website:

WHO definition of HEALTH: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

The correct bibliographic citation for the definition is:

Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.



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