We all came across information and wondered, is it true? Or maybe a fact was said by someone else, who read it on the “internet”, so it must be true. With many sources of information and inaccurate information, it can be difficult to know what credible health advice is and what isn’t. Here are some ideas on how to fix good and bad information and where to look for reliable information.
Ownership or sponsorship of the website
A general rule of thumb for finding reliable information is to find information on a website sponsored or operated by a federal government organization. A website ending in .gov means it is one of the top-level domains and owned by the United States government. Other domains, such as .edu, are for educational institutions, .org is for non-profit organizations (such as medical, scientific, and research societies), and .com is for commercial websites. Other reliable sources would be from well-known large medical institutions or schools. Large organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the National Institute on Aging, and other national health institutes are all research, education, and awareness organizations that work on a specific disease state or healthy aging. Medical institutions like the Mayo Clinic, MD Anderson, the Cleveland Clinic, and other national medical institutions are nationally recognized hospitals and research centers, so they’re a great way to find the latest and greatest from a trusted source.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions
As above, you can ask yourself questions like “who hosts or sponsors this website?” Websites cost money, so funding is needed to generate the page and maintain it. Knowing the website’s funding source can give you insight into the organization providing the information and give you an idea of their intentions. Are they trying to sell you something? Are they trying to share something? You may be wondering “who wrote or reviewed the information?” When names are listed in an article, it’s a good way to search and see their connection to the website, what their credentials are, if they are truly contributing experts, or if they are getting anything financial or otherwise from an investment. in or contribution to the website. Trustworthy sites should tell you who is sharing this information and where they got it from, which means they should cite their sources. You can also ask “how can I find out more?” By citing their sources, you can read the original research or find more information on the subject. Also, sites that have contact information where you can follow the author, contributors, or sponsor, such as an “About Us” or “Contact Us” page, mean that someone is probably tracking that email and goes well get in touch with us.
Quick and easy solutions
Personal experiences or affirmations can be powerful, but they don’t take into account how everyone will react. The health history of all people is not the same and there can be great differences from person to person. Don’t let a “good” result from a person take the place of visiting the doctor and using common sense. If the solution sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Look for dramatic writing styles and see if you can find the same information or wording in multiple places. If the website cannot cite its sources or only uses testimonials. it probably wasn’t picked up through scientific research and they’re probably trying to sell you something. Knowing the intention of the website and when it was written can be helpful. Older information does not mean it is incorrect or inaccurate, but it should be carefully examined. Medical research is done constantly and we regularly learn new things and come out with new updates. If no date is given for the information or at the bottom of the page for when it was last written or updated (or was not updated in the last year), it means that the information is not undergoing regular review. Therefore, it may be out of date.
Take the time to review the medical and health information to make sure you get a complete and accurate picture. Don’t feel rushed to make decisions or buy a product. Trust your instincts and continue to seek regular advice from your doctor and healthcare professionals.
Where to find reliable health information:
Kimberly Burke is a lecturer in the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences and director of their adult fitness program at Colorado State University. Adult Fitness provides exercise opportunities for CSU employees and community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more, see the Adult fitness program website