Silver surfers are more health aware

Older people who use the internet regularly are better able to look after their health, suggests a new study.

The findings come from a study of 4,500 adults aged 50 and over in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Participants' understanding of medicine labels were recorded along with their hobbies and interests.

Researchers found that older adults who were web savvy and regularly indulge in culture may better retain 'health literacy' - the ability to understand and process basic health services and information.

The study followed participants from 2002 to 2011, twice testing their skills at reading about and processing health information - measured by the ability to read and answer questions on a fake medicine label. And every two years they asked them about hobbies and interests.

After taking into account factors which might influence the results, such as wealth, education, whether or not they had a long-term illness or were suffering from memory loss, the researchers found that regular internet use and engaging in cultural activities seemed to protect the ability to be "health savvy".