Open Access Peer-reviewed Review

The most cited articles on the topic of health behaviors in Google Trends research: a systematic review

Main Article Content

Willy Chou corresponding author
Wei-Chih Kan
Tsair-Wei Chien
Hsien-Yi Wang


Background: Over the past decade, the use of Web-based data in public health issues has been proven useful in assessing various aspects of human behavior. Google Trends is the most popular tool to gather such information and has been applied to several topics with the most focused subject related to health and medicine. However, the most cited articles and the popular medical subject headings(MESH terms) on health behaviors in Google Trends research remain unknown. The web-based behavior requires to monitor and analyze on-line data for examining actual human behavior to predict and even prevent health-related issues that constantly arise in daily life.
Objective: This systematic review aimed at reporting and further presenting the most cited articles and the popular MESH terms on health behaviors in Google Trends (infodemiology) researches in health-related topics since 2009 to provide an overview of the topic burst for future research on the subject of health behavior.
Methods: Following the Meta-Analyses guidelines for selecting studies, we searched for the term “Google Trends[Title]” in PubMed databases since 2009, applying specific criteria for types of journal articles. A total of 86 published papers were extracted, excluding those that did not fall inside the topics of health and medicine or the selected article types. We then further categorized the published papers according to MESH terms using social network analysis(SNA)and selected the most cited articles that related to the health behavior in Google Trends.
Results: The most cited articles are those from the US in 2009(PMID= 19845471 cited 88 times) and the UK in 2013(PMID= 23619126 cited 74 times). The MESH term represented by Internet earns the highest impact factor(IF) and presents significantly different among term clusters(F(3,20)=15.79, p<0.001). The most number of citing journals is from PloS One. The most number of author affiliations is from the US.
Conclusions: The monitoring of online queries can provide insight into human behavior, as the phenomenon is significantly and continuously growing at present and in the future for assessing behavioral changes in health topics.

authorship-weighted scheme, most productive author, most influential author, Google Maps, social network analysis, health behavior

Article Details

How to Cite
Chou, W., Kan, W.-C., Chien, T.-W., & Wang, H.-Y. (2018). The most cited articles on the topic of health behaviors in Google Trends research: a systematic review. Advances in General Practice of Medicine, 2(1), 1-7.


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