Internet Based Programs and Resources

Our lives are increasingly influenced by the World Wide Web, which is now accessible in our schools, workplaces, libraries, and homes. This technology has even greater impact on the young as they have grown up with computers. Teenagers routinely access health information on the Web. Therefore, computers can be a useful way of facilitating teenage acquisition of health-related information. Importantly, the adolescent must be educated on where to find accurate Web-based information.

The following is a list of websites that provide adolescents and their parents with important, reliable information on prenatal care and related considerations. These websites will change as the Web grows, but these are sites to explore and to share with your adolescent patients.

  1. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/159_153.asp. The March of Dimes provides good factual information on weight gain, a printable chart, a game to play about what to put in your grocery cart and other information presented at an appropriate reading level.
  2. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pregnancy.html#cat11. Medline has several topics for nutrition in pregnancy and gives links to other good sources including Environmental Protection Agency recommendations for fish and shellfish in pregnancy.
  3. http://www.MyPyramid.gov/. This site presents the new food pyramid, with a chance to register for an individualized record of food and activity. At present, it does not have accommodation for pregnancy, and has a specific disclaimer for pregnancy and lactation, but a dietitian could provide extra information to personalize the pyramid. See Chap. 1 ("Nutrient Recommendations and Dietary Guidelines for Pregnant Women") for a discussion of how the nutrients in the six food intake patterns, within the recommended energy intake ranges for pregnancy, of the MyPyramid Food Guidance System compare with the RDAs for other nutrients in pregnancy.
  4. http://win.niddk.hig.gov/publications/two.htm. Fit for Two has tips for pregnancy. This is not specifically for teens, but has appropriate reading level, good pictures, and graphics, very appealing.
  5. http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/pubs/bibs/gen/vegetarian.htm presents a list of resources for vegetarians that are useful for providers and consumers.
  6. http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm has information on protein for vegetarians, including vegans. Sample menus are provided.
  7. http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-inf o/docs/1600/1674. asp?index=4724 provides information on appropriate diet for vegetarians.
  8. http://teamnutrition.usda.gov/library.html is a general resource on nutrition for young teens, not specific to pregnancy, but it is a useful source for colorful materials. There is also information about school lunch programs.
  9. http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/ provides information about the WIC program, including how to register.
  10. http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/ is a link to a 12-unit training module for WIC staff. It has continuing education credits for nurses and dietitians. The material covered is useful for any provider of nutrition education and includes information and guidance for leading group discussions on nutrition topics.

Other sources to explore include the state agriculture department, dairy industry materials, and local university extension service fact sheets. The Web makes information from other states just as accessible as your own state or local university. For example, at www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/pubs/bibs/topics/pregnancy/pregcon.html there is a bibliography of available resources for nutrition, some specific to adolescents and includes ordering information for many materials.

These websites will give you a place to begin developing resources. Ask your teen patients to let you know when they find a site they like; use them as sources for Web news. Assist them in evaluating the information presented on different websites; encourage them to screen the information carefully before implementing recommendations. Some questions to ask include:

  • Who wrote the pages and is the author an expert?
  • What does the author say is the purpose of the site?
  • When was the site created and last updated?
  • What is the source of information? Can it be confirmed?
  • Why is the information useful for my purpose? [41, 42]
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