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Office for National Statistics. Internet Access - Households and Individuals, 2013. 2013. (accessed 22 March, 2017)

Office for National Statistics. Internet access – households and individuals: 2016. 2016. (accessed 22 March, 2017)

Public Health England. Digital-first public health: Public Health England's digital strategy. 2017. (accessed 22 March, 2017)

Displaying public health messages on posters is no longer the only option

02 April 2017
Volume 25 · Issue 4


Public Health England (2017) recently published the report ‘Digital-first public health’. It outlines a strategy to make best use of digital innovations to meet the needs of the population and fulfil PHE's remit to protect and promote health and reduce inequalities

We live in a society where we can obtain almost any information we need with just the touch of a button. The world is seeing a rise in new technology, software applications and innovative ways to deliver information to individuals.

In 2013, more people than ever used a digital platform for reading newspapers or magazines, to access their bank accounts, to seek health information or to buy groceries. This information published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also highlighted that activities previously carried out on the high street are now increasingly being carried out online (ONS, 2013).

More recent statistics only show a further rise in reported use of digital platforms. The internet was used daily or almost daily by 82% of UK adults (41.8 million) in 2016, compared with 78% (39.3 million) in 2015 and 35% (16.2 million) in 2006. Furthermore, in 2016, 70% of adults accessed the internet using a smartphone, up from 66% in 2015 and nearly double the 2011 estimate of 36%.

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