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Women make up the majority (fifty five per cent) of people who use the internet to research health and medical issues and nine of the top twenty health and medical searches on the internet relate to obesity, weight loss and healthy living, with women over the age of 45 making up more than a third (37%) of web users looking for health and medical information on the web.

These are some of the findings from the 3rd annual WebWatch 2009 survey published by Private Healthcare UK, using data from Hitwise, which provides a snapshot of the type of health issues web users are concerned about and the health and medical sites the UK’s web users are visiting.

Download the full WebWatch 2009 report at:

With new figures from the NHS Information Centre showing that the number of obesity surgery procedures are up 40% on last year it is hardly surprising that the Private Healthcare UK survey found that information about BMI (body mass index), calories and diabetes were the most common disease/condition related terms searched.

Information for the survey was gathered by Hitwise over a four week period to the end of January 2009, monitoring daily activity on 1,492 UK health and medical websites as defined by Hitwise.

The report also includes information about other factors relevant to today’s online healthcare market that include gender and age of visitors to health and medical sites, search engine use, the most visited sites, and the most visited health information sites, the health and medical sector’s share of all web activity and the most visited insurance company sites.

Analysis of the data reveals that the web is becoming an increasingly important research tool for individuals looking for information about health and medical matters. The web is also being used as a main form of communication for organisations in both the private, public and charity sectors in addressing the public in health awareness issues, with obesity, weight loss and health living being key subjects of interest.

Private Healthcare UK is the UK’s leading gateway to information about private health care services, medical information, news resources and insurance and was the fifth most visited site for general healthcare information in the four weeks to the end of January 2009 an indication of its strong position in the healthcare web sector.

NetDoctor’s (the fourth most visited site according to the Hitwise data) recent launch of a portal to Private Healthcare UK on its website means that Private Healthcare UK’s market share is set to grow with its exposure to NetDoctor’s audience of 4.5m visitors a month. This will be a useful resource for self-paying patients researching private medical treatment and insurance options and the increasing number of NHS patients who are exercising their rights to access private healthcare.

Keith Pollard of Private Healthcare UK comments that; “The data shows that people are increasingly relying on the web as a resource for a wide range of information about health and medical services. Private Healthcare continues to grow in popularity in a crowded market place because it holds a unique position by providing users with a reliable and easy to use resource for information about private healthcare options that helps them make informed decisions about treatment, healthcare providers and insurance.”


Further information

Please contact: Caroline Ratner 020 8209 0120 or

Editor’s notes

About Private Healthcare UK is a one-stop gateway to all aspects of private health care services, including private hospitals, private doctors and specialists. The website’s Patient Advice and Education area contains information about operations and procedures and diseases and medical conditions. It also has many useful guides to various aspects of private treatment including a “Guide to Going Private” and “Questions to ask your doctor before an operation.”

About Intuition Communication

Intuition Communication publishes some of the UK’s most visited healthcare information sites including Private Healthcare UK, Treatment Abroad, and: - provides comprehensive information about this world famous area of medical excellence. - a searchable database of over 1,000 self help organisations and support groups across the UK. - the UK's leading guide to health and medical tourism, covering over 40 destinations worldwide. - a health tourism site with a specific focus on Hungary. - a health tourism site with a specific focus on Cyprus. - a health tourism site with a specific focus on Spain. – access to opinions and advice from some of the UK’s leading oncologists.

About Hitwise

This report has been compiled by Intuition Communication using data from Hitwise, an online competitive intelligence tool which monitors activity on over one million web sites every day. For the Private Healthcare report Hitwise analysed data from 1,492 health related websites.

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.

Hitwise collects data from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to understand how UK consumers are using the web. Hitwise monitors more than 8 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, Medical & Pharmaceutical, Media & Marketing, for more information visit