Purpose: This study aimed to explore inequities in access to online health information and its relation to socioeconomic status, and to inform the development of the use of the Internet for health promotion. Methods: We analyzed cross-sectional baseline survey data for 664 first-time mothers from the Healthy Beginnings Trial conducted in Southwest Sydney, Australia during 2007-2010. First-time mothers' reports of their computer ownership, sources of health information including Internet access and self-rated health as well as demographic data were collected through face-to-face interviews. Multivariate analysis was performed using log-binomial regression. Results: We found that 37% of first-time mothers reported not using the Internet for health information. Maternal education level, household income level and having a computer at home were significant factors associated with the use of the Internet for health information after adjusting for other factors. Mothers who only had school certificate or lower were 1.5 times more likely not to use the Internet for health information than those with university/tertiary education [adjusted risk ratio (ARR) 1.50, 95% CI 1.06-2.12, P= 0.03]. Mothers with a household income of less than $40,000 per year were 1.7 times more likely not to use the Internet for health information than those with a household income over $80,000 per year (ARR 1.66, 95% CI 1.24-2.12, P= 0.001). Conclusions: These findings have important implications for using the Internet for health promotion among young women. A substantial number of first-time mothers do not access the Internet for health information, in particular among those with lower levels of education, lower household income and without a computer at home.
- Health information