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Articles on health literacy

articles on health literacy Health Literacy - American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Health Literacy - American Journal of Preventive Medicine

articles on health literacy MEDLINE/PubMed Search and Health Literacy Information.

articles on health literacy Health Literacy: MedlinePlus

Public Health Literacy Defined

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2009.02.001

American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Vol. 36, Issue 5,

Published in issue: May 2009

xPublic health literacy is an emerging concept necessary to understand and address the broad array of factors, such as climate change, globalization, and poverty, that influence the public's health. Whereas health literacy has traditionally been operationalized as an individual-level construct, public health literacy takes into account the complex social, ecologic, and systemic forces affecting health and well-being. However, public health literacy has not yet been fully articulated. This paper addresses this gap by outlining a broad, new definition of public health literacy.

It is also about using them to make good health decisions. It involves differences that people have in areas such as
  • Access to information that they can understand
  • Skills, such as finding that information, communicating with health care providers, living a healthy lifestyle, and managing a disease
  • Knowledge of medical words, and of how their health care system works
  • Abilities, such as physical or mental limitations
  • Personal factors, such as age, education, language abilities, and culture

More than 90 million adults in the United States have low health literacy. It affects their ability to make health decisions. This can harm their health. They may have trouble managing chronic diseases, and leading a healthy lifestyle. They may go to the hospital more often, and have poorer health overall.

Despite the enormous implications of low health literacy, there remains a significant amount of confusion surrounding the concept and its connection with healthcare outcomes. The purpose of this article is to outline the scope of low health literacy as a concept and explore ways that researchers and clinicians can reduce its negative impact on health outcomes. First, the major definitions of health literacy are presented in a brief overview. Then, the concepts of obtaining, processing/understanding, and using information serve as a working framework for discussing both the challenges of low health literacy and strategies to address low health literacy.73 billion annually in healthcare expenditures (National Academy on an Aging Society, 1999; White, 2008). Persons with inadequate health literacy have poorer health regardless of the illness in question (DeWalt, Berkman, Sheridan, Lohr, & Pignone, 2004). Health literacy is a dynamic process that involves both the patient and the provider (Paasche-Orlow & Wolf, 2007). Inadequate health literacy is more prevalent among vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, minorities, persons with lower education, and persons with chronic disease (DeWalt et al.). The ramifications for people with low to moderate healthcare literacy skills include the inability to assume positive self management, higher medical costs due to more medication and treatment errors, more frequent hospitalizations, longer hospital stays, more visits to their healthcare provider, and a lack of necessary skills to obtain needed services (National Academy on an Aging Society).


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