The Difference of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia's Web Sites Discussion of Childhood Obesity

The Difference of The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia's Web Sites Discussion of Childhood Obesity

At first impression, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia – three web sites that discuss childhood obesity – seem like your go to sites for advice. All have great introductions, causes and risk factors, updates, and plenty of useful resources for you to browse. Because there are many sources for health information, we can not just assume this information given is credible. As I analyze the CDC, Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia web sites, I will bring to your attention that one web site is more reliable than the others.

The first difference between the web sites is the introduction or home pages for childhood obesity. The CDC website is neat and organized and displays the USA.gov logo to provide awareness that this is a government authorized web site. The topics are color coded and in bold on the page, followed by a list of sub-categories that this topic branches into. Pictures help highlight and bring your attention to some of the discussions. Courtesy features on this page include font adjustments, ways to share the website via email or book marking, and the contact information for the CDC such as email, address and twenty-four hour phone number. A quick use tool is also handy on the page allowing you to quickly calculate your child’s body mass index.

The Mayo Clinic homepage for childhood obesity is nicely organized yet lacks anything eye catching. The entire text is typed in blue or black lettering that blends together. It starts off with providing the title on the top of the page and gives only the definition of childhood obesity. On left hand side they have a highlighted list of sub categories the topic goes into. The only picture related to the site is an advertisement to join their online community, while the other picture is an advertisement of diabetes medication. On the right hand side of the page are a list of best sellers and newsletters from the Mayo Clinic, followed by a list of ads from Google that have nothing to do with the topic. A link to a body mass index calculator is also amongst the topics as well as a list of references tab that you can expand if you like.

The childhood obesity homepage on Wikipedia is well organized yet drowned out with black text and white background. The topic is located at the top of the page followed by a brief description of childhood obesity. Next is the table of contents providing the sub-categories; from there the information follows as the contents describes. An image of different body types is located on the right hand side. Wikipedia provides a couple growth charts and a statistical chart for references, along with a cause and effect on the body system chart. Finally the website provides a large list of references and resources used as citation for the information.

Another difference among the web sites is how they provide the causes and risk factors of childhood obesity. The CDC provides all their information on a single flowing page that is understandable to the reader. Each category is in bold as you go through the reading material. As the first topic ends, it feeds off into the next and so forth allowing the reader to comprehend the material better. A simple picture of a balance scale featured in the middle of the page highlights the importance of balancing calories put in our body to the calories our body puts out.

The Mayo Clinic site displays their causes and risk factors on separate pages. You must click on Causes to get to that information, and then you must click on the risk factors listed on the left to display its material. Each page while organized and clean, gives very brief descriptions of the topics. This leaves the reader lacking information and wondering if they have missed a link to broaden the topic.

The Wikipedia web site has plenty of information but lacks the ability to narrow down what is really important. If it were not for being able to click on the categories in the table of contents you would never be able to tell where these ideas were discussed. When you do finally get to the information, they throw so many causes at you as well as examples that the reader becomes overwhelmed. The web site also uses medical jargon which is inappropriate when trying to provide information to the general public. Simplicity is the key for public comprehension, and Wikipedia has missed the mark.

A final difference between the web sites is their use of updated information and resources. The CDC provides at the bottom of each page when the sources were last updated. Some go as far back as June of 2010 to as current as September 2011. The resources provided for readers are items such as brochures, surgeon general reports, guidelines and a variety of social media tools. This allows the reader to know they are getting the most current, helpful and accurate information that is out there.

The Mayo Clinic provides that their information has been updated as of October 9, 2010. The resources tab is very limited, only containing links to treatment of obesity at the clinic. Other discussion topic links posted are for the BMI calculator and information on obesity, investing in kids’ health, and normal weight obesity. The lack of tools and information gives the reader a feeling that unless you schedule an appointment at the facility you can not seek medical advice elsewhere. This can make a person feel helpless if they can not afford to go to the Mayo Clinic.
The information on Wikipedia was last updated on October 27, 2011. The website does not have a resources section. The site only provides the list of references and external links used to provide the information. If you were to go to those sites you then could look up resources for personal use. By not providing resources, the reader is left to decide where to go to get tools. The reader does not know which source is best to look at nor what tools are appropriate. Once again his becomes discouraging for the viewer.

In comparing these web sites you notice there are some clear differences. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention site is clearly organized with up to date information and resources for viewers. Their site allows for easy access and browsing while achieving the goal of providing helpful advice. The reader will leave this site with a sense of accomplishment, knowledge and motivation to tackle childhood obesity.

Works Cited
“Childhood-Obesity.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 27 Oct. 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2011.
“Obesity-Childhood.” CDC. USA.gov, 12 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Oct. 2011.
“Health, Childhood-Obesity.” MFMER. MayoClinic, 9 Oct. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2011.