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Global Internet Usage and Nutrition Applications Research Paper


According to Anandarajan and Simmers (2002), many homes today are increasingly being connected to the internet following advancements in technology. The paper provides interesting perspectives on how a number of aspects regarding the internet have progressed, and as well as the progress as far as access and use of health information is concerned (Anandarajan & Simmers, 2002).

Internet Users

It has been approximately three decades since the United States’ government introduced a network that was primarily designed for research and academic. During the time, it was connected to a few hosts, who mainly constituted corporate and academic laboratories. Twelve years later, internet users had grown to fifty million, and by 2009, the figure had hit a one-billion mark. In the year 2013, the number of global internet users had increased to 2.1 billion, constituting forty percent of the total world population.

By 2012, the number of websites had increased to six hundred and thirty-four from a hundred and thirty in 1993. With time, the number of search engines also grew, and today, Google reports a record three billion queries every single day compared to nine thousand eight-hundred queries in 1993 (Tittel & Robbins, 1995).


The year 1973 saw the invention of the first mobile phone, and thirty years later the 3G mobile network came into effect. By the year 2007, there were approximately three-hundred million subscribers to the mobile network globally. The 4G mobile network, an advanced version, was launched in 2009, and its rate of usage was simultaneous to that of Smartphone. According to studies, at least 1.4 hours are dedicated to internet activity every single day by cell phone users.

The introduction of the Smartphone came with a number of mobile applications, which are not only addictive and fun but also informative (Domingue, 2011). There has been a transformation regarding the manner in which people all over the world uses the internet since its invention (Lipscomb, 1996).

Today, the internet occupies a critical part in our everyday life, and it is certainly indispensable. The nature of internet usage is changing rapidly, especially in the telecommunication sector. In the past, applications were underdeveloped and asynchronous with sequential interactions. However, the past decade has seen a plethora of highly efficient applications, such as instant chats and video messaging (Bertot & McClure, 1999).

The figure below shows the number of internet users with the percentage of the world’s population that each represents. These figures will be used in calculating the average rate of growth that will ultimately to project the number of internet users by the end of December 2014.

Year Internet Users % of World’s Population
December 2008 1,574,000,000 23.5 %
December 2009 1,734,000,000 25.6 %
December 2010 2,000,000,000 30.0 %
December 2011 2,354,000,000 34.7 %
December 2012 2.523,000,000 36.8 %
December 2013 2,749,000,000 38.8 %

World’s Internet Usage

The figure below demonstrates the distribution of internet users by continent. Asia is the leading continent, with 44.8 percent of global internet users, and this can be attributed to the densely populated communities (Donaldson, 1994). Europe follows with 21.5%, North American and South America coming third and fourth respectively. Noticeably, African internet users make up seven percent of the global usage, which can closely be linked to its expansiveness and the huge population. The Middle East and Australia close the list in that manner because of the same reasons as aforementioned (Buss & Water, 2009).

Continent Usage
Asia 44.8%
Europe 21.5%
North America 11.4%
South America 10.5%
Middle East 3.7%
Australia 1%
Africa 7%

Projection of Internet Users

To forecast the number of an internet user by the end of 2018, data concerning internet users over the past five years were collected, The rate of growth for each subsequent year was calculated, and their average was computed.

The resulting estimate was the average rate of growth of internet users for the five-year period, and it is this figure that was used to project the 2014 estimate. From the computations, the average rate of growth of internet users was 11.9024 percent, and the 2014 projection was 3,076,196,976 internet users. Further, computations were undertaken, and with the current trend, it was clear that by 2018 there will be approximately fifteen billion internet user globally (Carlson, Eisenstat & Ziporyn, 2004).

Year Internet Users % Change Average % Change
Dec-08 1,574,000,000 0.0000 11.9024%
Dec-09 1,734,000,000 10.1652 11.9024%
Dec-10 2,000,000,000 15.3403 11.9024%
Dec-11 2,354,000,000 17.7000 11.9024%
Dec-12 2,443,000,000 3.7808 11.9024%
Dec-13 2,749,000,000 12.5256 11.9024%
Dec-14 3,076,196,976 11.9024 11.9024%
Dec-15 3,661,412,689 19.0240 11.9024%
Dec- 16 4,357,959,839 19.0240 11.9024%
Dec- 17 8,290,582,797 90.2400 11.9024%
Dec- 18 15,772,004,713 90.2400 11.9024%
Rank Country Internet Penetration Internet Users
1 China 42.3% 568,192,066
2 United States 81.0% 254,295,536
3 India 12.6% 151,598,994
4 Japan 79.1% 100,684,474
5 Brazil 49.8% 99,357,737

According to studies, seventy-three percent of the United State’s population aged eighteen years and above use the internet to access health and nutrition information. Many consider that the internet hugely affects decisions that they make regarding their preferred health service or product (Cohen, 2007). The figure below shows the result of a study demonstrating the influence of the internet to the choice of health care and product (Kim, 2002).

Condition Percent
Angina 70
ADD 69
Cohn’s Disease 68
Rheumatoid Arthritis 68
Acne 66
Bipolar Disorder 66
Epilepsy 66
Skin Cancer 66
Hepatitis 67
Country Internet for Health and Nutrition Information Population
China 38 % 215912985
United States 15 % 38144330
India 40 % 60639598
Japan 33 % 33225876
Brazil 30 % 29807321



Nutrition Information




Patients’ Experiences


Information on Health Care Facilities


Information on Clinicians


Networking Sites for Health Care Information




Studies on web traffic have been conducted in the past, and a list of the most accessed websites for health and nutrition information was compiled. Some of the websites that topped the list include the following:

  1. Medicinenet.com.
  2. Natural health and nutritional information newsletters and health articles.
  3. Mayoclinic.com.
  4. Medline Plus.
  5. Drugs.com.
  6. Medscape.
  7. AiDs Patents Database.
  8. PubMed.
  9. The United States Institute of Health.
  10. WebMD.

In addition, Google report on 2013 search queries shows the factsheets were the most visited.

  1. Cystitis.
  2. Deep Vein Thrombosis.
  3. Haemorrhoids.
  4. Hypertension.
  5. Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  6. Miscarriage.
  7. Overactive Thyroid.
  8. Peptic Ulcer.
  9. Skin Cancer.
  10. Underactive Thyroid.


The study illustrates a gradual increase the general access and usage in health information globally. However, wide internet penetration in some countries does not necessarily translate to increased access and usage of health information (Edmunds & Coye, 1998).


Anandarajan, M., & Simmers, C. (2002). Managing web usage in the workplace a social, ethical, and legal perspective. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Pub..

Bertot, J. C., & McClure, C. R. (1999). Moving toward more effective public Internet access: the 1998 national survey of public library outlet Internet connectivity. Washington, D.C. (1100 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 820, Washington 20005-3522): U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science.

Buss, T. F., & Water, P. N. (2009). Expanding access to health care a management approach. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

Carlson, K. J., Eisenstat, S. A., & Ziporyn, T. D. (2004). The new Harvard guide to women’s health. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Cohen, E. S. (2007). Broadband Internet access, regulation and policy. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

Domingue, J. (2011). The future internet Future Internet Assembly 2011: achievements and technological promises. Berlin: Springer.

Donaldson, M. S. (1994). Health data in the information age use, disclosure, and privacy. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

Edmunds, M., & Coye, M. J. (1998). America’s children health insurance and access to care. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Kim, C. (2002). Sorting out deregulation protecting free speech and Internet access in the United States, Germany, and Japan. New York: LFB Scholarly Pub.

Lipscomb, C. E. (1996). Information access and delivery in health sciences libraries. Lanham, Md.: Medical Libaray Association and the Scarecrow Press.

Tittel, E., & Robbins, M. (1995). Internet access essentials. Boston: AP Professional.

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