Quality and Content of Online Information Related to “Immunity Boosting” During COVID-19 Pandemic: Comparison of Google and DuckDuckGo
Keywords:DISCERN tool, Immunity boosting, Information quality, Internet, Online health information
Use of internet for assessing health-related information has been growing exponentially in the past few years. The objective of this study was to assess the quality of information on the websites on Google and DuckDuckGo. A total of 120 URLs were recorded from Google and DuckDuckGo using the search terms “immunity booster,” “immunity boosting foods,” and “immunity boosting drinks.” These were rated by three independent raters using DISCERN tool. The average ratings for the DISCERN questions were in the range of 2.01–3.82. More than 85% of the websites were of moderate quality. There was excellent inter-rater reliability among the raters. About 47% of the websites depicted immunity boosting as beneficial. About 11% of the websites recommended use of supplements for immunity boosting. Diet, exercise, and adequate sleep were the most commonly recommended strategies for immunity boosting. Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and gingerol were the most commonly recommended dietary components for immunity boosting. Overall, there was no statistically significant difference in the quality of websites on Google and DuckDuckGo. Most of the websites suffered from shortcomings in the quality of information based on DISCERN quality criteria.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Anu Shrivastava, Aparna Agarwal, Swati Jain
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