Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Nutrition Information on the Internet: A Cross-Sectional Content Analysis of Quality
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Background – Dietary modification and its potential to benefit individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common notion. The present study evaluates the quality of ADHD nutrition advice and health messages of websites. Methods – A content analysis was undertaken of 40 eligible websites. The DISCERN, IPDAS and JAMA instruments for the evaluation of health information were used to construct a 42-point tool to evaluate for formal quality, usability and quality of overall health information. A comprehensive literature review was undertaken to create a 16-point tool to evaluate for accuracy and quality of dietary advice. Websites were also analysed for Global Traffic Rank, affiliations, domain type and authorship. Results – The quality of the websites analysed was found to be generally poor, with an average Total Quality Score of 30.57%. The online dietary and nutritional advice for ADHD patients was very poor, with an average score of -12.58%. The websites affiliated with healthcare institutes and universities were found to be of higher quality than those of commercial affiliation. Health information authored by healthcare professionals was of higher quality than those authored by non-healthcare professionals. A positive correlation was found between website quality and website traffic rank. Conclusions – Online health information for ADHD is of generally poor quality. Websites were found to promote nutritional advice and recommendations which opposed that of peer-reviewed research and evidence based practice guidelines. Healthcare professionals should be vigilant to this and adopt the role of guiding patients to credible and high quality websites.
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