Content Quality of YouTube Videos About Gestational Diabetes: Systematic Evaluation

Eleanor M. Birch, Karolina Leziak, Jenise Jackson, Emma Dahl, Charlotte M. Niznik, Lynn M. Yee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: People with gestational diabetes have enhanced learning requirements during pregnancy, and management of their disease often requires the translation of health information into new health behavior changes. Seeking information from the internet to augment learning from health professionals is becoming more common during pregnancy. YouTube is a popular free and accessible web-based resource, which may be particularly useful for individuals with low health literacy or other barriers to receiving high-quality health care; however, the quality and content of YouTube videos varies, and little is known about those covering gestational diabetes. Objective: We aimed to systematically evaluate the quality, content, and reliability of YouTube videos about gestational diabetes. Methods: A systematic search of YouTube videos was conducted over the course of 1 week in April 2020 using the following keywords: "gestational diabetes," "gestational diabetes management," "gestational diabetes treatment," and "pregnancy and diabetes." The search results were displayed by relevance, replicating a default YouTube search attempt. The first 60 results from each keyword were reviewed (n=240). Exclusion criteria were videos unrelated to gestational diabetes, videos not in English, and those for which the full video was not available at the time of review. For each unique video, a gestational diabetes content score was used to rate video comprehensiveness and accuracy, and the DISCERN instrument, a validated metric to assess consumer health information, was used to evaluate the reliability of information presented. Videos were further categorized by quality: videos with DISCERN scores lower than 3 (out of 5) or a content score less than 4 (out of 7) were categorized as low quality, and all others were designated high quality. We performed descriptive analysis and compared video characteristics by source and quality rating. Results: For 115 unique videos, the mean content score (out of 7) was 3.5 (SD 2.0) , and the mean DISCERN score (out of 5) was 2.7 (SD 0.7), representing low to moderate information comprehensiveness and reliability respectively. Video sources were categorized as personal vlog (12/115, 10.4%), web-based education (37/115, 32.2%), medical (52/115, 45.2%), business or company (13/115, 11.3%), and media clip (1/115, 0.9%). DISCERN and content scores trended higher among medical and web-based education videos. The majority of videos (n=88) were categorized as low quality, while 27 videos were categorized as high quality. Video duration was longer for high-quality videos (P<.001); high- and low-quality videos otherwise had similar views and viewer interaction numbers. Conclusions: Although high-quality videos about gestational diabetes exist, reliability, accuracy, and comprehensiveness were low overall, and higher quality was not associated with increased viewer interaction. It is important to acknowledge the limitations of this platform and to assist patients in accessing high quality content and differentiating the quality of information sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere30156
JournalJMIR Diabetes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022


  • YouTube
  • diabetes
  • gestational diabetes
  • health information
  • internet
  • pregnancy
  • web-based

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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