Health Feature Articles
Choose credible Web sites when searching for health information online
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, nutrition and health education specialist, Barton County, University of Missouri Extension
Although it’s important for people to maintain a healthy weight, the methods for achieving this goal may sometimes be harmful. It’s important for people to make healthy decisions when losing weight and there are ways to find credible information that can help people make good choices.
In a recent survey of Barton County citizens, many people said they got nutrition and health information online. Although the Internet often provides credible, research-based information, it can also provide misleading health information.
One thing to look for in a credible Web site is a suffix that ends in .edu, .gov or .org. Commercial sites with suffixes like .com may have credible information, but may not be as reliable as other sites. Credible Web sites should include cited references and have information based on more than one study. Major nutrition and health breakthroughs take years to study, so there should be significant information backing the claim.
When it comes to making wise choices about your health, knowledge is power. Before you decide to make a major change that will impact your health, make sure you have all the facts. Find out if the product or process you are about to use has been thoroughly tested. Be wary of a company that offers only testimonials for their product and no research or limited research.
We all want to be healthy. Becoming a well-informed consumer is a great first step to take in making important health decisions.
The following are credible online services from the National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
- MedlinePlus directs people to information to help answer health questions: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/
- PubMed gives access to scientific abstracts and articles, although not all articles are free: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/
Last Updated 04/12/2010