As a reader of the WellMASS blog, you can rest assured that the information presented here is evidence-based, meaning it has sound scientific research to back it up. However, you probably also get wellness information from other places, not all of which may be as credible as you think. It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether or not the information you read on the internet or hear from a friend has been scientifically proven or is just an opinion. Fortunately, with a little detective work and some careful searching and evaluating, it is entirely possible to sort out the good wellness information from the not-so-good. The next time you read a wellness article or hear a wellness tip, ask yourself the following questions:
- Can you easily see who sponsors the source? It should be clear where the information you’re reading is coming from, and the ‘sponsor’ should be a reputable organization, such as the ones below.
- Is the sponsor a government agency, a medical school, or a reliable health-related organization, or is it affiliated with one of these? These organizations are often at the forefront of wellness-related research, and they are held accountable for the information they put out.
- Is the author’s contact information listed? If there is no contact information listed for the author of an article or website, it might mean they don’t want you to get in touch with them to question the information they provided.
- Can you tell when the information was written? Health and wellness recommendations change constantly, thanks to new and ongoing research developments. You’ll want to look for information that has been updated in the past two years, as older information might be outdated. In general, the more recently an article or website was updated or reviewed, the more accurate information it should contain.
- Is your privacy protected? All credible websites contain privacy statements. If a site doesn’t, you have no way of knowing how any information you provide, including your search history within the site, is used.
- Does the source make claims that seem too good to be true? Are quick, miraculous cures promised? Any claim that seems too good to be true probably is, especially if there isn’t any evidence-based research to back it up. Remember, there is no magic bullet for good health.
If you answered ‘yes’ to the first five questions, and ‘no’ to the last one, chances are that you’re getting your wellness information from a credible source. If your source now appears less-than-credible, there are several places you can search for new information that are guaranteed to provide you with the evidence-based facts you need. Stay tuned next week for a list of these sources.