Finding Useful Health
Information on the Web
about the side effects of that new drug you're
on? Looking for advice on how to cope with a
new diagnosis? Is it true that calcium may help
prevent colon cancer? If you're like millions
of North Americans, you're likely to search
for answers on the Internet. But type "osteoporosis"
into a popular search engine and you'll get
links to over 100,000 pages of information,
which can be a headache to sort through. What's
more, search engines don't weed out commercial
sites that are just trying to sell you something.
save you time and aggravation, the people at
Nutrition Action Healthletter searched the Web
for reliable, consumer-friendly health and nutrition
Best All Around Site
At WebMD (www.webmd.com)
you can quickly locate top-notch nutrition and
disease-related information. A good place to
start is "Newly Diagnosed," "Stay
Healthy," or "Living with Illness"
buttons on the WebMD Health page. This site
is loaded with feature articles, news items,
advice columns, recipes, charts and links to
support groups. Advertisements and site sponsors
are clearly marked.
Sites for Disease Facts
is a world-class website of health information,
maintained by the Ontario Ministry of Health.
You'll find reliable, useful articles on just
about any health condition, from abnormal heart
rhythms to acne. Learn how hundreds of prescription
medications work, when to take them, what their
side effects are and which other drugs you shouldn't
mix with them. Try out the six interactive tools
that help you assess your ideal body weight
(using the Body Mass Index Calculator), the
calories you burn, fat intake, sodium and other
is maintained by the National Institutes of
Health, the world's largest medical research
institution. This site has links to over 500
health topics, plus access to medical dictionaries,
a medical encyclopedia, drug facts, and information
on alternative therapies like acupuncture and
Website for Nutrient Analysis
is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutrient
database, which is more comprehensive than anything
available in Canada. Click on "Search the
Nutrient Database" for the calories, calcium,
saturated fat or any other nutrient in the 10,000
mostly non-brand-name foods listed.
Site for Allergy Alerts
you'll find food recalls and allergy alerts,
compliments of the Canadian Food Inspection
Agency. You can even sign up to have them automatically
e-mailed to you.
Food Safety Website
you can find out if it's safe to drink unpasteurized
fruit juice or check out the symptoms of E.Coli
by clicking on "Eat Well, Eat Safe."
Maintained by the University of Guelph's Food
Safety Network, this site will provide you with
information on minimum cooking temperatures,
bacteria profiles, food handling, storage tips
and food recalls. You can print out factsheets
on everything from acrylamide to mad cow disease
to how to safely stuff a turkey. The Network
also maintains a national toll-free food safety
telephone line at 1-866-503-7638.
To look up scientific studies, go to www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi.
Here you'll find the world's largest database
of published medical research, most of which
are in abstract form.
Participate in a Study
you'll find which government-sponsored studies
are recruiting in Canada and the U.S. and what
the requirements for participating are. In early
2003 for example, 162 clinical trials on prostate
cancer and 6 on osteoarthritis were looking
for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)
you'll find articles from the current and back
issues of Nutrition Action Healthletter, quizzes
to help rate your diet, information on food
additives, guides to help you lose weight or
lower cholesterol and a link to www.smartmouth.org,
CSPI's website for kids.
Romaniw is a Community Nutritionist with
the Fraser Health Region. She can be reached
at the Abbotsford Health Unit at 604-864-3400.