How To Evaluate Health Information Online Regarding Weight Loss Pill?

How To Evaluate Health Information Online Regarding Weight Loss Pill?
January 10 09:19 2018 Print This Article

A weight loss pill is a drug taken with the aim of losing weight. This pill increases your metabolism rate or depresses your appetite for food eventually leading to weight loss. Also known as diet pill, weight loss pill is very common in the market and comes in form of capsules or tablets. I know you are familiar with many adverts about a certain drug that will help reduce weight in few days or months. The question that we all ask is whether these drugs work or not.  The answer is, some work and others don’t. So how do you evaluate which information is useful concerning your weight? Here are a few highlights on what you should be looking at from websites that cover weight loss pills:

Who is responsible for the content posted on the website?

Every website has someone responsible for its contents. Health websites are no different. This information should be noted somewhere on the website in addition to any links to the home page(s).

Who is the website’s funder?

Running a website is a business and therefore requires money. Just like all other businesses, someone is investing in it. The question should be who?  Some websites may have many funders, none the less, all these funders should be listed somewhere visible to the reader. This is because the funder can manipulate the information for personal interests.

 Purpose of the website

The funder determines the purpose of the website. As we noted earlier, the funder stands to gain something from it and therefore drives his/her or their motive for the website. For instance, if the government is funding a website, there must be something of concern to the citizens. May be a campaign against/for some drug that the government is restricting or advocating for to the public. All such information can be obtained from ‘About Us’ section of the website, which lists the aim of the website.

Find out where the information in the website originally comes from

Most health websites collect information from other sites. While this is legal and accepted, the sources of the reference for the information should be given, via a link or mentioning the author of such information. In addition, some health websites refer to professionals- doctors, nurses, nutritionists, etc. who availed the information. This should also be accompanied by the credentials of the mentioned professionals.

Is there evidence to support all information provided in the website?

Evidence is supposed to substantiate the materials provided in the website, either from a scientific angle or from a medical perspective.  All medical facts should be accompanied by citations from books, articles or journals published. Most websites people’s testimonials claiming to have tested a certain material(s). Be careful as these cannot be substantiated and therefore cannot be used as facts but opinions. There is a clear distinction between those two-facts are scientifically/medically proven unlike someone’s ideas.

Are there listed experts who provided the information?

This refers to experts in the health field who gave the information provided by the website. All referenced health experts’ credentials should be listed in the website.

Whether or not there are links to related sites or sites with related content

Some health websites provide links to several sites while some do not. What you should be looking for is the owner’s policy governing the links to any other site. This information will be helpful in determining how the owner chooses other links and how to benefit from the links provided in the site hence what they want to accomplish.

Does the website collect your personal information?

It is common for websites to request for personal information from users. Such information includes names, date of birth, country, state, etc. Most health websites also ask users to be members of those sites or ‘subscribe’ for a newsletter containing the site’s information. You should be extremely careful on the information you offer in such websites and be sure to read and understand how your information will be used by the requestor of the information.  Mostly this information is found under the privacy section while signing up. Be sure to read carefully and understand whatever you are signing for.

Users’ interactions with the website

Feedback is important for any website owner. Therefore, the site must have a stated means on how a user can contact the site.  This can be through an email, phone number or social media platforms. Most common is the ‘Contact Us’ section in websites. The terms of service of such avenues should also be listed in the site. For instance, is calling the provided phone number toll free or do charges apply, if yes, how much?

 Verify the accuracy of any health information

Most health websites will send you an email about health information that you want. Be careful with such e-mails as some serve as advertising tools for the sites or just want to you to have a look of their site. Any medical product and/or service should be accompanied by evidence, scientific or medical.

Are consumers protected by the government?

Yes.

  1.   The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for regulating foods and dietary supplements. FDA monitors any health-related claims, food packages among other things.
  2.   Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a body in charge of consumer protection laws in addition to regulating diet supplements advertising. FTC also investigates any claims on false health information provided online.
  3.   The National Institute of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) supports research on diet supplements.  On its mandate, also, is the distribution of the findings of the researches on diet supplements and providing educational material concerning diet supplements.

In conclusion, your health is your most important resource. Therefore, take your time to research, evaluate, analyze and compare and contrast any health information you get from one site with others. If possible, consult an expert before settling for a certain product.

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