Web Sites: Tips for Finding Reliable Health Information
The following suggestions may help when you are surfing the Web for health information.
Choose sites with domain names that end in .gov or .edu, whenever possible. Many sites with a domain name ending in .org also are good sources of information. Although many domains ending with .com are reliable sources of information (eg, Nutrition411.com), this varies widely by site, and consumers should use good judgment when determining the validity and accuracy of information found on these sites.
Look for a mission statement that describes the organization and what its values are.
Credentials and affiliations
Look for the author’s credentials. Registered dietitians (RD) or registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) are the best sources of nutrition information. People with the designations of master of public health (MPH) or certified health education specialist (CHES) are usually reliable sources of information. Note that the designation “nutritionist” varies by state and does not always imply a formal education.
Also research the author’s affiliations to determine if any conflict of interest exists.
Look for a recent date of last update to ensure that the information is timely.
Look for peer-reviewed information. This means that the article was checked for accuracy by a team of other well-educated professionals.
Reliable Web sites will provide an e-mail address for questions and feedback. If you have questions about anything on the site, ask for more information.
Articles should include references, as well as other reliable sources of information.
Beware of unrealistic claims. Remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never trust a Web site that implies that you can replace the nutrition of whole foods with supplements. Do not believe any claims that ask you to eliminate an entire group of food from your diet (eg, all carbohydrates or all dairy). Question statements that are based on one research study.
Recommended Web sites
Provides nutrition and lifestyle advice to prevent and treat heart disease. Includes sections for patients, caregivers, health care professionals, researchers, and scientists.
Offers information about the prevention and treatment of cancer. Features sections on staying healthy, finding support and treatment, recent research, getting involved in the fight against cancer, and finding local resources.
Features useful consumer information through the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy organization with twin missions—“to conduct innovative research and advocacy programs in health and nutrition, and to provide consumers with current, useful information about their health and well-being.”
Includes diabetes research and information about the disease and treatment. Also provides information about preventing diabetes, special sections for parents and kids, and advocacy tips and resources.
Contains nutrition information, nutrition-related legislation, and a tool for locating a registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist in your geographical location.
Listsinformation from the US Food and Drug Administration about food safety, including food recalls, food additives, dietary supplements, and resources for different audiences, including consumers, health educators, health care professionals, industry, teachers, and students.
Provides information about common food allergies, anaphylaxis, advocacy, and research, as well as articles written specifically for the newly diagnosed, schools, child care, and health care providers.
Offers comprehensive guides on hundreds of conditions and a symptom search tool, as well as information on prescription and over-the-counter drugs, medical tests and procedures, and tools for healthy living.
Contains evaluations or food and nutrition fads and fallacies, provided by the National Council Against Health Fraud.
Provides evidenced-based information on alternative medicine from the National Institutes of Health Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Features health resources for consumers and health care professionals, including Spanish materials.
Includes information from the National Institutes of Health about metabolic bone diseases, including osteoporosis, Paget’s disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, and other disorders.
Features information about diabetes, digestive health, and kidney disease, including nutrition tips, current research, and treatment options. Part of the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is the nation’s medical research agency that conducts and supports biomedical research. It also disseminates research and health information to the public.
Lists information on nutrition and dietary guidance from multiple government agencies, including the US Dept of Agriculture and the US Dept of Health and Human Services.
Has vast information on dietary supplements, supplement labeling, and safety information from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Dietary Supplements.
Provides information on food safety, MyPlate guidelines, child nutrition programs, and other information. Also on the Food and Nutrition Page, you can access the What’s in the Foods You Eat search tool, which allows you to view nutrient profiles for 13,000 foods commonly eaten in the United States.
Offers vegetarian recipes and nutrition information.
Review Date 6/14