Assessment of the quality and content of website health information about herbal remedies for menopausal symptoms

Julie Sowter, Felicity Astin, Louise Dye, Paul Marshall, Peter Knapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To assess the quality, readability and coverage of website information about herbal remedies for menopausal symptoms.

STUDY DESIGN: A purposive sample of commercial and non-commercial websites was assessed for quality (DISCERN), readability (SMOG) and information coverage.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Non-parametric and parametric tests were used to explain the variability of these factors across types of websites and to assess associations between website quality and information coverage.

RESULTS: 39 sites were assessed. Median quality and information coverage scores were 44/80 and 11/30 respectively. The median readability score was 18.7, similar to UK broadsheets. Commercial websites scored significantly lower on quality (p=0.014), but there were no statistical differences for information coverage or readability. There was a significant positive correlation between information quality and coverage scores irrespective of website provider (r=0.69, p<0.001, n=39).

CONCLUSION: Overall website quality and information coverage are poor and the required reading level high.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
Early online date4 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Comprehension
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Menopause/drug effects
  • Phytotherapy

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