Evaluating the quality of websites relating to diet and eating disorders

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Abstract

Objective:

To verify whether the Credibility Indicator is able to evaluate the quality of websites.

Method:

This is a descriptive cross-sectional study of websites on diet and anorexia/bulimia, using searches on Google to access the study population. Quality was studied using 22 variables selected by consolidating international proposals. In addition, eight variables belonging to the Credibility Indicator were also studied.

Results:

Three hundred and fifty four homepages relating to diet and 366 homepages relating to anorexia/bulimia were evaluated. None of the websites met all of the quality criteria; neither did any website satisfy all of the Credibility Indicators. A positive correlation was observed between fulfilment of the Quality items and the Credibility Indicator (R= 0.72; P < 0.001). Significant differences were found in the fulfilment of the Total Quality variables between the websites that had these variables and those that did not (t-test = −9.91, P< 0.001).

Conclusions:

The quality of websites covering issues of diet and anorexia/bulimia is still poor. The Credibility Indicator is a useful aid when determining the quality of a website. It is evident that identifying authorship and affiliation is an important factor in predicting the quality of the information.

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