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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

  • Fibre and fibre supplements

    Patient.co.uk
    Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains are all good sources of fibre. Fibre supplements are also available. Fibre and fluids work together to aid digestion; try to drink 8-10 cups of water each day.
  • Is it OK to get Botox treatments at a Botox party?

    Mayo Clinic
    Experts recommend that cosmetic procedures, including Botox injections take place in a doctor's office. Some side effects of Botox include pain, bruising and muscle weakness.
  • High cholesterol: Does reducing the amount of fat in your diet help?

    Informed Health Online
    Eat less saturated fats in your diet to help prevent heart disease. Eat less meat, butter, cheese and cream to improve your health long-term.
  • I frequently have a dry mouth. What can I do to relieve this problem?

    Mayo Clinic
    Some tips for temporary relief of dry mouth: chew sugar-free gum, limit caffeine intake, use a humidifier and sip water (more ideas in this resource). The best way to treat dry mouth in the long-term is to address the cause.
  • Acute sinusitis

    Mayo Clinic
    To relieve symptoms of sinusitis try getting more rest and plenty of fluids, use a humidifier and apply warm compresses. Sleep with your head elevated. Nasal sprays, decongestants and pain relievers may also help.
  • Which medications can relieve allergic rhinitis?

    Informed Health Online
    If you have allergic rhinitis, there are medications you can purchase as tablets, nose drops or sprays. These include: antihistamines, steroids, leukotriene receptor antagonists, chromones, and decongestants. Research shows these are all effective treatments.

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. When you search for Web Resource Ratings on a particular topic, the ones with the highest ratings are presented first.

1 star: Not recommended

  • This information is not based on evidence. We do not recommend following this advice.

3 stars: Do more research

  • This information is based on scientific research, but possibly only from one or two studies. We recommend reading more about this topic. Use the ‘Related Topics’ links at the bottom of each resource to find higher quality information.

5 stars: Discuss with your health care professional

  • This information is reliable, based on a summary of many research studies. We recommend discussing these ideas with your health care professionals.

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.

More questions about Web Resource Ratings?

Click here

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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