Health Care Information on the Web

Determining the Validity of an Internet Site

When trying to determine if an Internet site is a valid place for getting your health care information, consider the following:

  1. Is the name of the author listed on the page?
  2. Is there contact information for the author other than an email address?
  3. Does the author provide a place to find further information and/or the research that was used so you can verify the facts that are discussed?
  4. Are there charts, graphs or other visuals to support the author’s claims?
  5. Is the information written with objectivity or is the author bias throughout it?
  6. Do the advertisements promote the author or company opinion?
  7. Do the advertisements relate to the topic or subject?
  8. How recently was the page written, published or last updated?
  9. Can you verify the information or conclusions through other credible websites?

Valid websites where you can find information about professional associations:

American Cancer Society:
A nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization and official site of the American Cancer Society.

American Heart Association:
The official site of the American Heart Association, which provides information on how to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

American Institute for Preventive Medicine:
The official site of the American Institute for Preventive Medicine, dedicated to correcting poor health habits step-by-step.

Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):
The AAFA’s official site dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies and their caregivers through education, advocacy and research.

National Arthritis Foundation:
The official site of the National Arthritis Foundation, the only national non-profit organization that supports the more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions with advocacy programs, services and research.

Mental Health America:
The official site of Mental Health America, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, an organization with over 320 affiliates nationwide. It promotes mental health for the well-being of the nation.

National Safe Kids Campaign:
The official site of the National Safe Kids Campaign, whose goal is to keep kids safe by providing parents and expecting parents a site full of safety tips and programs.

Valid websites where you can find information about general health:

Health Finder:
General health information from A to Z.

Provides services that help physicians, consumers, providers and health plans navigate the complexity of the health care system.

Provides health care and medication information on numerous health care topics.

Health information from the world’s largest medical library, the National Library of Medicine. There are also lists of hospitals and physicians, a medical encyclopedia and medical dictionary, health information in Spanish, extensive information on prescription and nonprescription drugs, health information from the media and links to thousands of clinical trials.

Healthy People 2020:
The Healthy People 2020 site challenges individuals, communities and professionals to take specific steps to ensure that good health and long life are enjoyed by all.

Mayo Clinic:
Provides up-to-date information and tools to answer your health-related questions. Gives you access to the experience and knowledge of more than 2,000 physicians and scientists of the Mayo Clinic.

Valid websites where you can find information about nutrition, weight and fitness:
A service of the National Agricultural Library, USDA, this site provides consumers with easy online access to government information on food and human nutrition.

Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion:
The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an organization of the USDA, was established in 1994 to promote the nutrition and well-being of all Americans.

Food and Nutrition Information Center:
A leader in online global nutrition information, the FNIC website contains over 2,000 links to current and reliable nutrition information.

The American Society for Nutrition:
A premier research society dedicated to improving the quality of life through the science of nutrition.

American Dietetic Association (ADA):
With nearly 70,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA serves the public by promoting optimal nutrition, health and well-being.

Healthy Weight Network:
Authoritative, scientific research on dieting, the failure of weight loss programs, eating disorders, obesity, size acceptance and diet.

National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF):
The official site of the National Association for Health and Fitness (NAHF), a non-profit organization that strives to improve the quality of life for individuals in the United States through the promotion of physical fitness, sports and healthy lifestyles.

President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition:
This site is the product of an advisory committee of 20 volunteer citizens who advise the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services about physical activity, fitness and sports in America. The Council serves as a catalyst to promote health, fitness and enjoyment for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through participation in physical activity.

Valid websites where you can find information about sports medicine:

National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA):
This site helps to better the quality of health care for athletes and those engaged in physical activity as well as advance the profession of athletic training through education and research in the prevention, evaluation, management and rehabilitation of injuries.

American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):
ACSM advances and integrates scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM):
Provides a quality educational resource for AMSSM members, other sports medicine professionals and the general public.

American Osteopathic Academy of Sports Medicine (AOASM):
Dedicated to the art and science of sports medicine, emphasizing osteopathic principles in the practice of comprehensive health care.

Valid websites where you can find information about sports supplements:

WebMD Vitamins and Supplements Lifestyle Guide:
Information to aid in making sound, informed decisions about dietary supplements.

Remember that dietary supplements do NOT require FDA approval before they come on the market, so make sure to educate yourself on all the possible side effects of taking a supplement. Before taking any supplements, you should discuss them with your physician to determine any possible effects relating to your health and other medications you take.

Website information should never replace your physician’s advice. Always consult your health care professional before making lifestyle changes.