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Infant feeding websites and apps: a systematic assessment of quality and content

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journal contribution
posted on 01.07.2015, 00:00 authored by S Taki, Karen CampbellKaren Campbell, Georgie RussellGeorgie Russell, R Elliott, Rachel LawsRachel Laws, E Denney-Wilson
Background: Internet websites and smartphone apps have become a popular resource to guide parents in their children’s feeding and nutrition. Given the diverse range of websites and apps on infant feeding, the quality of information in these resources should be assessed to identify whether consumers have access to credible and reliable information.

Objective: This systematic analysis provides perspectives on the information available about infant feeding on websites and smartphone apps.

Methods: A systematic analysis was conducted to assess the quality, comprehensibility, suitability, and readability of websites and apps on infant feeding using a developed tool. Google and Bing were used to search for websites from Australia, while the App Store for iOS and Google Play for Android were used to search for apps. Specified key words including baby feeding, breast feeding, formula feeding and introducing solids were used to assess websites and apps addressing feeding advice. Criteria for assessing the accuracy of the content were developed using the Australian Infant Feeding Guidelines.

Results: A total of 600 websites and 2884 apps were screened, and 44 websites and 46 apps met the selection criteria and were analyzed. Most of the websites (26/44) and apps (43/46) were noncommercial, some websites (10/44) and 1 app were commercial and there were 8 government websites; 2 apps had university endorsement. The majority of the websites and apps were rated poor quality. There were two websites that had 100% coverage of information compared to those rated as fair or poor that had low coverage. Two-thirds of the websites (65%) and almost half of the apps (47%) had a readability level above the 8th grade level.

Conclusions: The findings of this unique analysis highlight the potential for website and app developers to merge user requirements with evidence-based content to ensure that information on infant feeding is of high quality. There are currently no apps available to consumers that address a variety of infant feeding topics. To keep up with the rapid turnover of the evolving technology, health professionals need to consider developing an app that will provide consumers with a credible and reliable source of information about infant feeding, using quality assessment tools and evidence-based content.

History

Journal

Interactive journal of medical research

Volume

4

Issue

3

Season

July-September

Pagination

1 - 13

Publisher

JMIR Publications

Location

Toronto, Ont.

eISSN

1929-073X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2015, The Authors