In the Know: Health and Wellness Website Legalities

When Health Consulting Businesses are Legally Responsible

One thing the internet is infamous for is being a source of advice for our health and well-being.

It doesn’t matter where we turn there is someone with a website telling us what to do to lose weight, slow down ageing or treat our illnesses.

We all do it. We aren’t feeling well so we type our symptoms into “Dr. Google” and voila, thousands of results telling us we have everything from a common cold to 6 months to live. We then take our results in hand to our doctor and tell him what we have.

Sadly, professionals in the health care industry, doctors, therapists, dieticians and nutritionists all have an everyday fight with misinformation that is provided on the internet.

If you are a blogger and have some experience with health-related issues, you may want to share this information with the world.

Or, you may be a professional with some education on certain health-related subjects and want to use that information to boost your business online.

Either way, you have to be very careful to follow the rules when it comes to providing health and wellness website information and advice to the masses.

Legal Responsibilities for Providing Health-Related Advice

So what are the legal issues for health consulting and coaching businesses when providing health-related information on a website?

There have been more than a few lawsuits in past years that have stemmed from sharing of health and diet advice with others on the internet.

In a recent lawsuit in North Carolina, a blogger changed his life and had experience with managing his Type 1 diabetes through use of the Paleo diet. He blogged about his efforts and when successful, he took his blogging a step further and began to share his meal plans and exercise regimens.

Eventually, he began providing one on one sessions to advise his readers in the ways of his experience for a fee.

In North Carolina, there is a misdemeanor law that makes it unlawful to practice dietetics or nutrition without a license. This blogger was charged with breaking this law and North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition is now threatening him with prison.

Research All Governing Bodies’ Rules & Regulations

When providing health and wellness information online, you must ensure you are following all the rules.

Each governing body has separate rules on what information you can and cannot advise the public with regarding their health.

Canada and the United States both have specific federal laws and then each province and state also have their own separate laws.

If you are going to provide information, then you must look up those laws according to where you live and where you are doing business from. And to take it even a step further, you then you have to consider the audience you are targeting.

A good guideline to follow if you are providing information on your health-related website is to ask yourself, are you being specific to a particular personal health situation. The blogger in the North Carolina lawsuit was doing OK with providing his personal experiences with the Paleo diet.

His suggestions for exercise regimens or providing his personal diet plans on his health and nutrition website may even have been OK with the law but as soon as he started consulting one-on-one with individuals and providing advice, he was beyond sharing his personal experience and fell into the realm of providing medical expertise in an area where he was not legally certified to engage in.

Remember, giving your opinion about a health-related subject or telling about your specific experience is one thing but if you are claiming to be an expert in anything on your health and nutrition website, you could be held accountable by the boards who are responsible for governing the public education on the subject and run into legal issues.

You must not in any way claim or pose as something you are not if you are going to provide reliable health information.

If you are handing out health or wellness advice you need to be very clear about what your education and expertise are and also be very careful of the legal issues surrounding any advice you do give.

This is where working with a professional web development firm could help steer you in the right direction and ensure you are not posting anything that could cause you legal problems while operating your business. Consulting a lawyer who is well versed in these matters would also be very prudent.

Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and Social Media Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their online business presence. Social media and digital marketing doesn’t have to be a beast! Enroll in AMPLiFY! Business Academy: Practical Social Media & Digital Marketing Strategies for Entre

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Health Events, Workshops and Retreats

I firmly believe that we need to constantly gain as much knowledge, and experience as we possibly can, to live healthy, happy and balanced lives. When it comes to health, we all need to take responsibility for our own health. The best way of doing this is to read, attend health events (including workshops and retreats), and share with others.

The more knowledge we have the better empowered we are to keep healthy, and to treat our ailments. Google is a wonderful tool, that most of us have at our disposal. Read as many books, and articles on health and healing as you possibly can. If you have any ailments, illnesses or injuries, read up on them, and the best ways to cure them naturally. If you are on medication, Google it and find out all the pros and cons, and make it your aim to eventually wean yourself off, and heal naturally.

The more knowledge we have, the more responsibility we can take, for our own health. If you are on medication, and have read up about it, then it is a good thing to discuss all your concerns, and questions with your doctor. If you are using natural remedies, and treating yourself, then the more you know, the better your treatment is going to be.

There are so many informative self-help books available now, and you can either purchase hard copies, or do as I do, and download them onto your computer, or iPad. Read as many blogs, and articles on the internet as you possibly can, as this is a wonderful free tool, available for all of us.

Sharing with others, is invaluable in our journey to staying healthy. There are many platforms on the internet now, where people can ask questions, and share ideas. There are also loads of blogs, like ours, where you are encouraged to ask questions, and share your ideas. If you are ill, sharing is the best way of gaining support from others. Having the back up of other people, in whatever way we choose, gives us a great sense of security.

I love workshops, and attend as many as I possibly can, time permitting. There are so many short courses, and workshops available out there now. Google whatever interests you, and your area, and you are bound to come up with a large choice. If you have money, or time constraints, then join free workshops on the internet. This gives you the flexibility, of being able to do them in your own time. My advice is once you have signed up for a course, you must diarize daily, when you are going to do it, and commit to it.

The ultimate of course, is to be able to attend a retreat. This way you give 100% of your time, and commitment. I recently attended a writing retreat, and came back rested, revived, and inspired. I am looking at possibly doing a yoga retreat in the near future, to get me really healthy, fit, and focused before the Summer holidays.

With people becoming so much more aware of living healthy lifestyles, there are so many more health events available for us. They range from health talks, to cooking classes, to exercise classes, to demonstrations, and so many more. I find out about many of these in our area, by joining Facebook pages, and signing up for various newsletters on websites that interest me. I am spoilt for choice, and attend as many as I possibly can.

The blog, encourages our readers to share their ideas, and information, and to ask questions on health and healing. We have a calendar of events, where for South Africa, where there are load of health events, workshops, talks, and retreats listed, for our readers. The aim of Life

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