Washington: A new study analysing weekly patterns in health-related Google searches reveals a recurring pattern that could be leveraged to improve public health strategies.
Investigators from San Diego State University, the Santa Fe Institute, Johns Hopkins University, and the Monday Campaigns, analysed "healthy" Google searches (searches that included the term healthy and were indeed health-related, e.g., "healthy diet") originating in the US from 2005 to 2012.
They found that on average, searches for health topics were 30 percent more frequent at the beginning of the week than on days later in the week, with the lowest average number of searches on Saturday.
This pattern was consistent year after year, week after week, using a daily measure to represent the proportion of healthy searches to the total number of searches each day.
"Many illnesses have a weekly clock with spikes early in the week," SDSU's John W. Ayers, lead author of the study, said.
"This research indicates that a similar rhythm exists for positive health behaviors, motivating a new research agenda to understand why this pattern exists and how such a pattern can be utilized to improve the public's health," he said.
Joanna Cohen, PhD, a co-author of the study and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, added, "We could be seeing this effect because of the perception that Monday is a fresh start, akin to a mini New Year's Day. People tend to indulge in less healthy behaviors on the weekend, so Monday can serve as a 'health reset' to get back on track with their health regimens."
The study is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.