Separate Online Fact from Fiction | MOBE

Separate Online Fact from Fiction

The internet can be a vast world of valuable health and well-being information. But it can be hard to find good tips buried among countless sites full of inaccurate data. To make things easier, here are five questions to ask yourself as you visit sites online.

Is the source reliable?

Look at the website endings for a clue about the source’s credibility. Government (.gov), health organizations (.org), and medical institutions (.edu) have recognizable three-letter abbreviations at the end of their web address. These sites often have up-to-date studies, published reviews, and articles written by medical professionals.

Was the info reviewed?

Doctors and medical professionals often check the information on government and health organization sites before they’re published. Look for a comment before or after the article that specifies, “Medically reviewed by,” to ensure that the information is accurate.

Websites that include reviewed content include:

  • Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
  • American Heart Association (AHA)
  • American Academy of Sleep Medicine
  • Mayo Clinic
  • Cleveland Clinic
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Who backs up the info?

When you discover a website, consider if it’s a reliable source or if it’s sponsored by a trusted source. Find the article author’s name. Typically, their medical or educational credentials will be listed on the page. These bits of information can help you identify who is supporting the content.

When was the info updated?

Verify how current the information is before considering it reliable. The publishing date is usually located at the top or bottom of the article. If the article is frequently reviewed, the date should be recent. If the article is out of date, compare the information with other reliable sources. Your health care providers can also offer guidance.

Are there medical references?

Trustworthy websites contain well-researched information. They have references. You’ll notice numbers or notes in the text as you read that correspond to a list of sources at the bottom of the webpage. The references listed are often clickable links to lead you to the original source, which is another sign of the article’s validity.

Ask before you act.

Before adjusting your health or lifestyle habits based on info you find online, remember the 4 Rs: read, review, reliability check, and referencing. Then, partner with a MOBE Guide to tap into reliable health and well-being resources tailored to your specific goals. Get started today.