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

  • Exercising while sitting down

    Health Link B.C.
    No matters you age or fitness level, there is a type of exercise that will work for you. This web page describes 3 types of fitness that you can do while you are sitting down. Talk to your doctor before becoming more active.
  • Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease

    Mayo Clinic
    Making changes to your diet can promote heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. A few tips to help get you on the path to a heart-healthy diet include: controlling your portion sizes; incorporating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat protein sources into your diet; reducing unhealthy fats and salt; planning ahead by creating daily menus; and treating yourself every once in a while.
  • Oral health: Brush up on dental care basics

    Mayo Clinic
    Maintain your oral health by brushing your teeth two times a day using a fluoride toothpaste and a toothbrush with soft bristles. Electric or battery-operated toothbrushes may be a good alternative to a manual toothbrush. Don't forget to floss daily, practice good brushing and flossing techniques, keep your brushing equipment clean and know when to replace it, and get routine dental cleanings.
  • Sample menus for the DASH diet

    Mayo Clinic
    The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan stresses the consumption of fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, and nuts; while reducing sodium and limiting red meats, sweets, and sugary drinks. DASH aims to help lower or control high blood pressure. This resource helps you get started on the DASH diet by providing three days of menu options.
  • Supplements: Nutrition in a pill?

    Mayo Clinic
    Healthy adults who eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and fish likely do not need to use supplements. Some exceptions to this general rule may include people with certain medical conditions and those who have a poor appetite or a hard time acquiring nutritious food. Consult a doctor or dietitian for help with determining if you need to be taking supplements and how to do so safely. When choosing or using supplements, check the labels for ingredients and serving sizes, don't take more than the recommended daily values, monitor your diet, and look out for recalls and alerts.
  • When and how often should you brush your teeth?

    Mayo Clinic
    The white film that develops on our teeth is called plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that produce acids. These acids go on to wear down the protective outer layer of our teeth, a.k.a. enamel, causing cavities. Plaque that remains on teeth can harden to become tartar. Tartar, if left to accumulate, can lead to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice-daily, floss every day, limit the consumption of sugary drinks and food, and drink a lot of water to help keep your mouth healthy.

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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