Over the past 20 years, the Internet has profoundly changed the communication landscape. From a small number of users in the early 1990s, this technology has exploded to reach nearly all areas of the globe and to be used by billions of people. Health information is a popular topic for many Internet users. Governmental and nongovernmental health organizations and businesses have rushed to make available information and programs designed to improve health. Emerging evidence suggests that when well-designed, Web-based health programs can help individuals monitor their health, improve the outcomes of clinical treatments, and enable them to manage their lifestyles to prevent disease.

The ubiquity of the Internet gives Web-based health communication the potential to reach a large proportion of many populations. While early in ...

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