About Web Resource Ratings

There is a lot of health information or "Web Resources" freely available on the internet. A Web Resource is any item you find online that you can watch, read, listen to, or interact with, such as videos, fact sheets and online quizzes. Many resources are consumer-friendly, but it's often difficult to know which ones have credible information, based on scientific research. Web Resource Ratings do the homework for you, assessing the quality of health information available online and presenting our assessment using a 5-star rating scale.

There are three stages of Web Resource Rating:

  1. Assessing inclusion of websites
    Websites we include must be:
    • Not directly funded by a company trying to sell you a product or service
    • Relevant to optimal aging
    • Intended for citizens, or include content intended for citizens
    • Free access
  2. Assessing inclusion of Web Resources from included websites
    Web Resources we review must be:
    • Not directly funded by a company trying to sell you a product or service
    • Relevant to optimal aging
    • Intended for citizens
    • Less than 5 years of age

  3. Assessing quality of included Web Resources
    Web Resources are rated for quality with three criteria:
    • Evidence-based: Is this information reliable, based on scientific research?
    • Transparency: Is it clear who developed the resource and how?
    • Usability: Is the information easy to understand and easy to use?

Each Web Resource Rating also provides a summary of the content, including any information that you can act on related to optimal aging.

If you cannot find a website or Web Resource Rating that you are looking for, check out our list of excluded websites. If you still can’t find it, let us know; we may be rating it now!

Recent Web Resource Ratings

  • 11 Exercise Tips for Type 2 Diabetes

    If you have diabetes and want to become more physically active, first discuss your plan with a health professional. Once you have the go-ahead, start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you are exercising. Other tips to help you get started include: creating a list of potential exercise options that you enjoy and increase your heart rate, staying hydrated, and carrying a carbohydrate snack in case your blood sugar drops.
  • Behavioral weight loss programs are effective — but where to find them?

    Harvard Health Letter
    Behavioral weight loss programs can help people lose weight and are relatively safe. They may also help reduce the risk of diabetes. If you are not able to access a behavioural weight loss program, you can develop a tailored version with a team of health professionals and specialists or try a variety of mobile phone apps geared towards weight loss.
  • Diabetes and exercise: When to monitor your blood sugar

    Mayo Clinic
    Exercise can help people living with diabetes improve their blood sugar, fitness, and well-being. To exercise safely, check your blood sugar before you start exercising, watch for signs of low blood sugar while exercising, and check your blood sugar again after you are done exercising.
  • Diabetes, Foot Care and Foot Ulcers

    The development of foot ulcers is a common issue in people with diabetes. Practicing good foot care and getting your feet checked regularly by a health professional such as a doctor or a podiatrist can help with prevention. If you do develop a foot ulcer, treatments may include protective dressings, medication, special shoes, and surgery.
  • Five ways to quit smoking

    Medical News Today
    Quitting smoking improves the quality of your health and life. Start by preparing for your quit day. Also, consider strategies such as nicotine replacement therapy, non-nicotine medications, counselling, and alternative therapies (mindfulness and meditation). Don't forget to seek guidance from a health care professional.
  • Health Benefits of Yoga

    Yoga is a low impact exercise that can be practiced by almost anyone and in many different settings such as yoga studios or at home. People can choose from a wide variety of yoga types that vary in pace and the experience-level needed, and that can also be modified. The benefits of yoga include improved flexibility and balance and reduced stress.

Understanding our star rating system

Each Web Resource is rated using a star system on a scale from 0-5. The more stars, the higher the quality with 5 being the maximum. These ratings are weighted to favour content that is informed by scientific research evidence, followed by transparency in its creation and ease of use. When you search for Web Resource Ratings on a particular topic, the ones with the highest ratings are presented first.

Our raters

Staff working on the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal conduct the assessments of the resources. Two staff members independently rate each resource and come to an agreement on its rating. Any disagreements in ratings are discussed until consensus is reached.

DISCLAIMER: Web Resource Ratings are provided for informational purposes only and to facilitate discussions with your healthcare providers, family members, or informal care givers. They are not a substitute for advice from your own health care professionals. The Portal is not responsible for the content of external websites, nor is it an endorsement of that website or the site’s owners (or their products/services). The Web Resource Ratings may be reproduced for not-for-profit educational purposes only. Any other uses must be approved by the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal (Send email to Portal).

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