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by Carole Carson, AARP, December 4, 2008
Millions of us search online for health information every day. The problem is that most (85 percent) of us do not check the source and date of the health information, according to researchers with the Pew Charitable Trusts. Consequently, the information may or may not be valid or up-to-date. Even more worrisome, some information may actually be detrimental to our health.
Besides the issue of the information's accuracy, the sheer number of resources can also pose a problem. I could spend all day at the computer finding out what I should eat and how to exercise—and in the process forget to exercise or cook a healthy dinner.
When I go to a site and start exploring, I typically find links to other sites that send me off in more directions. Before long, I've lost both time and direction on the superhighway of Internet health information. As I click from site to site, only my fingers are getting any exercise.
When I look for information specific to my age group (50-plus), one of my favorites is the AARP.org Health Channel. I also explore the Web sites of major medical institutions, such as the Mayo Clinic. Also, you can generally trust health information from government-run health sites, such as those of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I'll never be able to inventory all of the Internet's health and fitness resources. More sites are added each day. Whatever your age or interests, though, the ones I've mentioned can get you started.
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