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Will Surfing the Web Prolong Your Life?

Despite what we hear on the negative effects of sitting for hours with our eyes glued to the computer, new research suggests that Internet users are more likely to take part in cancer-preventive behaviors. And this does not apply to just any Internet users; the study was conducted on a population of older men and women who used the Internet on a regular basis, finding that these individuals usually conduct a much healthier lifestyle than non-Internet users of the same age. 
The study was conducted by Jeremy Moore by the American Association for Cancer Research on a group of around 6,000 older adults, aging 50 years and up. The conclusions were interesting, if not astonishing. They found that older men and women who use the Internet are more likely to participate in colorectal (colon) cancer screening, eat healthier, smoke less, and lead a more physical lifestyle than those who do not use Internet. 

The study found that 72.9 percent of Internet users had colorectal screening compared to 51.7 non-users who also had the screening. The research also found that Internet users were 50 percent more physically active and 25 percent more likely to eat their daily nutritional value of fruits and vegetables than non-users. Also only 6.6 percent of Internet users were reported smokers, while 13.3 percent of non-users were smokers. 

The connection between cancer, health and the Internet may seem blurry, but yet another study suggests that 63 percent of older Internet users use the web to look up health information. "Our findings indicate that Internet use among older people should be targeted," said Christian von Wagner of the University College London. However, the fact that older populations may be more cognizant and knowledgeable regarding their health as a result of the Internet does not suggest that they are necessarily healthier in all regards. 

It is widely acknowledged that the Internet's invention has enriched individual's general knowledge, but to suggest that it is making us healthier may be reaching too far. Furthermore, it is important to remember that these studies do not propose a definite connection between Internet use and health, but rather suggest that those that use the Internet are more informed on ways to remain healthy. Although the Internet is already an integral part of young people's lives, for older generations its plethora of information is just beginning to unravel, which may, according to these studies, have remarkable results.

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