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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

  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)

    WebMD
    Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when narrowing arteries hinder the flow of blood to different areas of the body, such as the arms or legs. If not adequately managed, PAD can led to a heart attack, stroke, or amputation. To manage symptoms and keep the disease from progressing, follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, do not smoke, and watch out for your blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

    Mayo Clinic
    Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a condition that hinders the flow of blood to your limbs. The arms and legs are common sites of impact. Cramping in your hips, thighs, or calves following physical activity, leg pain and numbness, hair loss, slow growing toenails, and changes in your leg colour are some of the many symptoms of PAD. Connect with your health care provider if you are experiencing symptoms of PAD or if you have no symptoms but are over 65, over 50 with a history of smoking or diabetes, or under 50 and have PAD risk factors (e.g., hypertension and diabetes), as you may need to be screened.
  • The safe use of over-the-counter painkillers

    Informed Health Online
    Over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can be effective for pain relief. However, these medications can also come with side effects. To safely use over-the-counter medications, always monitor the dose you are taking, use them for only as long as needed, and be aware of possible interactions they may have with other medicinal products you are using.
  • Osteoporosis

    Informed Health Online
    Age, sex, calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, family history, drinking alcohol, and smoking are a few risk factors for the development of osteoporosis. Help prevent osteoporosis by consuming a diet rich in calcium, regularly exercising, getting enough vitamin D, and not smoking.
  • High blood pressure

    Informed Health Online
    High blood pressure can lead to a variety of medical issues if left untreated. It is often symptomless until it becomes extremely high, at which point people can experience vision problems and dizziness. High amounts of salt and alcohol intake, excess weight, lack of physical activity, family history, certain medications, and an overactive thyroid are some causes and risk factors for high blood pressure. Strategies such as consuming less salt, exercising more, losing weight, and medication prescribed by a health care provider can be used to help lower blood pressure.
  • Depression

    Informed Health Online
    Depression is a common mood disorder that can make it hard to cope with everyday life. Causes and risk factors for depression include genes, difficult experiences and life circumstances, chronic anxiety disorders, biochemical changes, medical problems, and lack of light. Psychological therapies (e.g., cognitive behavioral therapy) and medication, alone or combination, are treatment options.

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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