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Healthy Thoughts Peak Mondays and Tuesdays

Update Date: Apr 18, 2014 05:54 PM EDT

Google searches reveal that people tend to think about their health early in the week.

Researchers analyzed weekly patterns of health-related Google searches and looked for "healthy" Google searches that included the term healthy and were health-related in the U.S. from 2005 to 2012. The study revealed that searches for health topics were 30 percent more frequent early in the week than days later in the week, with the lowest healthy searches on Saturday.

After using a daily measure to represent the proportion of healthy searches to the total number of searches each day, researchers found that this pattern consistent year after year, week after week.

"Many illnesses have a weekly clock with spikes early in the week," lead researcher John W. Ayers of San Diego State University, said in a news release. "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."

"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," co-author Joanna Cohen, professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said in a statement.

"It's interesting to see such a consistent and similar rhythm emerging from search data," added Benjamin Althouse, study co-author and Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. "These consistent rhythms in healthy searches likely reflect something about our collective mindset, and understanding these rhythms could lead to insights about the nature of health behavior change."

The findings revealed that Monday and Tuesday healthy search volumes were 3 percent greater than Wednesday, 15 percent greater than Thursday 49 percent greater than Friday, 80 percent greater than Saturday, and 29 percent greater than Sunday.

"The challenge we face in public health is to help people sustain healthy behaviors over time. Since Monday comes around every seven days when people are 'open to buy' health, it can be used as a cue to help create healthy habits for life," study co-author Morgan Johnson from The Monday Campaigns concluded.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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