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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

  • A new tool to help you lose weight

    Evidence-based Living
    Research shows that it might be helpful to track the food that you eat and exercise that you do in a day to help you lose weight. Both written and electronic tools can help.
  • What we know about fasting for weight loss

    Evidence-based Living
    Intermittent fasting is when you alternate days of eating a lot and eating a little, or when you do not eat for 12 to 15 hours a day. Intermittent fasting might help you lose weight, but could cause problems for people with certain health conditions or medications.
  • Which is better for weight loss — cutting calories or increasing exercise?

    Mayo Clinic
    Changing your diet to eat less calories seems to cause weight loss more effectively than doing exercise. Both are important parts of weight loss. Do not drastically reduce the amount of food that you are eating.
  • Weight loss: Ready to change your habits?

    Mayo Clinic
    This web page provides some questions that you can use to discover if you are ready to lose weight. If you would like to lose weight but are not ready, you can use these questions explore what is holding you back.
  • Exercise helps ease arthritis pain and stiffness

    Mayo Clinic
    Exercise is important for people with arthritis. It increases strength and flexibility and lowers joint pain. You can try range-of-motion, strengthening, or aerobic exercises. Talk to your doctor about adding exercise into your treatment plan.
  • Amputation and diabetes: How to protect your feet

    Mayo Clinic
    Diabetes can lead to nerve damage and poor blood circulation. This can cause skin sores on your feet. Proper diabetes management and foot care can prevent this. Inspect and wash your feet daily, and be careful when trimming your nails.

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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