The U.S. Government has some great health information online. However, finding the best of it can sometimes be difficult, because there is so much available.
After a lengthy review of .gov health sites, I rated the following six websites as among the best for their content, presentation, focus, and ability to improve the health of broad audiences. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but feel free to share additional .gov health information sites you recommend.
This is the definitive health information site from the Government—absolutely the best and more thorough collection available! It is a service of the National Library of Medicine and a few partners. The site is easy to navigate, search, and read. This one is worth bookmarking no matter what health information you are looking for.
One of the centers in the National Institutes of Health focuses entirely on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The information is not only written well, it is also important, as 75% of America has used alternative medicine. The site even provides live help online or a toll-free number to talk about CAM.
The Center for Disease Control has a series of ten health tips for men, women, and parenting. These guides are clear and actionable. And in the face of constant health fads, they presumably list enduring, research-based advice on the ten most important steps to health, which is always useful information. I would encourage CDC to consider expanding this series.
Topics: Healthy living
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The CDC homepage does a remarkable job of publishing and promoting the most timely and relevant health features!
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has a site focused on how to be more involved in your healthcare. AHRQ says, "the single most important way you can stay healthy is to be an active member of your own health care team." This site does a good job of explaining the benefits and strategies for improved doctor-patient communication in various situations. The "build your question list" is a great feature, though it seemed a bit long the first time I saw it.
This site is so well done, I would encourage AHRQ to make a similar one for doctors. After all, they also determine the effectiveness of doctor-patient communication. For example, why not recommend that they provide pen and paper in their exam rooms for patients to take notes?
This is a fantastic collection of health information for girls, their educators, and parents. The majority of the site is simple and well-written information for girls that is actionable and relevant. There are also more technical handbooks and fact sheets for parents and educators available. There are a few interactive features like polls and a simple discussion called "Speak Up".
A noteworthy strength of this site is that it has a standing "sounding board". This is a group of young women ages 14-17 who provide constant feedback to the GirlsHealth.gov team. This practice of organizing members of a website's target audience into a sounding board should be adopted by more .gov websites!
Interestingly, there is no comparable site for boys' health.
Smoking has vast negative health impacts, and this site does a great job of providing help and information to quit smoking. It includes a guide to quitting, phone numbers for quitlines across the country, and live help quitting via online chat. This site is admirable in its simplicity and single focus.
Topics: Quit smoking
If you know of more great .gov health information or websites that you would recommend, please share!
The how to quit smoking links you had on your website were great. I wanted to pass along a site I found that has a few basic videos showing how to quit smoking. The link is: http://www.monkeysee.com/play/5484-quit-smoking. I'm not sure if you're interested in how to videos, but I found these useful when I was quitting.