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MedlinePlus – Food and Nutrition

MedlinePlus - Food and Nutrition leads users to a broad range of information about many dietary issues, such as general nutrition for various age groups, food allergy, vitamins, and dietary supplements. A few consequences of a poor diet are discussed, such as obesity and elevated cholesterol. This MedlinePlus section is a good starting place for anyone interested in healthier eating.

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Review Date: 4/15/2019

Scoring

Ease of Use

This section of MedlinePlus is just an alphabetical list of topics about food and nutrition. Clicking any one of the more than 50 listed here leads to a page with a brief summary as well as numerous links to additional information. It requires users to constantly jump back and forth between websites, but otherwise all the relevant material is contained to this one page of resources.

Visual Design

The home page only provides a list of topics. No images or multimedia to engage the reader. And the material is not organized aside from alphabetically, whereas topic headings would benefit the visual appearance. MedlinePlus already features a dull graphic design; this page brings the quality down to the most basic level.

Quality

Users can read about healthy nutrition and many ways of choosing healthier foods. The materials assembled here come from a wide variety of sources, most of them from high quality perspectives. Not all pages are fleshed out with the same depth, but overall this is a small complaint given the wealth of information.

Credibility

MedlinePlus clearly identifies the organizations responsible for its curated content, which include the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, ChooseMyPlate.gov, Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Agriculture. Users will find that the medical encyclopedia topics have the highest reliability, as they list the names of medical reviewers and date of last review. However, the currency of web pages linked on MedlinePlus vary, and individual authors and editors are only occasionally credited on the linked sites.

Pros

  1. Extensive Medical Encyclopedia with information about various issues & conditions related to diet
  2. Links to reliable and up-to-date information about nutrition, food allergy, vitamins, and dietary supplements, including the dietary needs of a few specific conditions, such as diabetes
  3. Highly credible website with backing from the U.S. government and relying on materials generated by authoritative organizations

Cons

  1. Some topics, such as eating disorders and familial lipid disorders, are only marginally relevant
  2. Diabetes diets are only one of the few specific conditions covered here

Profile

Sponsors / Affiliations: The U.S. National Library of Medicine, The National Institutes of Health

Accreditations: None

Additional Features: Patient handouts, videos, images, relevant journal articles, find an expert, health check tools, links to research, medical encyclopedia with helpful descriptions of related conditions

Languages: English, Spanish

Contact: custserv@nlm.nih.gov

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