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Five of the top twenty health and medical searches on the internet relate to obesity, weight loss and dieting, and three out of the top 20 visited websites are also weight related.

The latest annual WebWatch 2008 survey, published by Private Healthcare UK reveals that increasing numbers are using the internet to search for information about health and medical matters with the BMI (body mass index) calculator, viagra, pregnancy and BMI making up the top four most searched for terms.

Download the full WebWatch 2008 report at:

http://www.privatehealthcare.co.uk/aboutus/webwatch

Obesity is one of the major health issues in this country and people are turning to the internet for information and solutions to this and other common medical problems. Dieting websites are the most visited weight related sites, along with other weight related searches and site visits for information on BMI (body mass index) and weight management.

Queries and searches are also increasing about surgical options for obesity and weight management, with a growth in people looking for other self-paying weight management treatment and obesity surgery. Most popular include gastric banding for the morbidly obese. This and similar procedures like the insertion of a gastric balloon are often unavailable on the NHS to treatment seekers who face a postcode lottery in terms of the availability of services.

Demand is also growing for cosmetic surgery procedures like tummy tucks and breast reductions, with demands for quick fix treatments like liposuction expected to rise in 2008.

Private Healthcare UK commissioned the 2008 WebWatch Report to research emerging trends and to understand how consumers use the web in the health, medical and private healthcare sectors. Private Healthcare UK is the UK’s leading gateway to information about private health care services, medical information, news resources and insurance and is the top recipient of web traffic for key terms in both the health and medical sector in the UK and for new and emerging markets such as cosmetic surgery abroad.

88% of all searches are made through Google UK and Google.com with health and medical websites attracting a significantly greater proportion of female visitors (56 per cent) than websites in general and over 37 per cent of visits to health and medical website are made by people over the age of 45.

Keith Pollard of Private Healthcare UK comments that; “The data shows that people rely on the web as a resource for information about health and medical services, including researching private health insurance and finding out about self-paying treatment options. We have grown our market share by 79% within the health and medical market (as characterised as Hitwise) in the past twelve months and this can be attributed to our significant strength in search engine marketing with 56% of our activity coming to us through search engine referrals.”

The report, conducted over a twelve week period ending on 26 January 2008 analyses visits to over 1,279 UK health and medical websites. The report provides an insight into of the web activity in this area using data gathered anonymously.

Analysis includes an overview of age, gender of health websites visited. The report looks into the types of sites visited, frequency, length of stay and the common health terms and conditions searched. The report also analysed the top search engines used, health insurance and private health care companies and also the most visited cosmetic surgery websites. nd analyses visits to over 1,279 UK health and medical websites.

For further information please contact: Caroline Ratner 020 8209 0120 or carolinecomms@gmail.com

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Editors Notes:

To receive the full version of the Private Health UK WebWatch 2008 survey, please download the full WebWatch 2008 report at:

http://www.privatehealthcare.co.uk/aboutus/webwatch

About Intuition Communication

Intuition Communication is the publisher of some of the UK’s most visited healthcare information directories including Private Healthcare UK and Treatment Abroad. Intuition Communication also provides consultancy on web strategy to the healthcare sector, and has experience in the NHS, the private healthcare sector, the pharmaceutical industry, and the medical products and services marketplace.

www.privatehealthcare.co.uk with over 350,000 visitors a month is the leading web portal for private healthcare services in the UK and is the most visited resources for patients researching all aspects of private healthcare services ranging from private hospital treatment to private medical insurance
www.treatmentabroad.com - the UK's leading guide to health and medical tourism, covering over 20 destinations worldwide.
www.treatmentinhungary.net - a health tourism site with a specific focus on Hungary.

www.treatmentincyprus.com - a health tourism site with a specific focus on Cyprus.

www.treatmentinspain.com - a health tourism site with a specific focus on Spain.

www.harleystreet.guide.co.uk - provides comprehensive information about this world famous area of medical excellence.

www.self-help.org.uk - a searchable database of over 1,000 self help organisations and support groups across the UK that provide support, guidance and advice to patients, carers and their relatives.

About Hitwise

This report has been compiled by Intuition Communication using Hitwise data an online competitive intelligence tool which monitors activity on over one million 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, and provides the most extensive sample of Internet usage in the UK.

The anonymous data, sent to Hitwise from the ISPs includes 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.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Caroline Ratner Communications in the following categories: Health, Women's Interest & Beauty, Business & Finance, Medical & Pharmaceutical, Media & Marketing, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit http://pressreleasewire.responsesource.com/about.