Finding reliable health information
Parents and teachers are in an ideal position to provide health information to students; the challenge is finding accurate and trustworthy information.
It's easy to be confused by the overwhelming amount of health information that is available today. The internet, TV and newspapers are constantly filled with headlines about 'new studies' or 'ground-breaking research'. Celebrities and other people in the public eye can also promote health messages that may not be entirely accurate and in some cases are completely wrong.
Here are some red flags that can help you decide whether health information is reliable:
- Recommendations or products that promise a quick fix.
- Claims that sound too good to be true.
- Simple conclusions drawn from a complex study or recommendations based on a single study.
- Dramatic statements that are refuted by reputable scientific organisations.
- Recommendations from studies that ignore differences among individuals or groups.
In addition to looking out for red flags, consider the credibility of the author and the original sources, including who funded the research. Government departments, not for profit organisations and universities are usually the most reliable sources of health information.