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Transcript of Health Literacy
Health Literacy affects not only people's ability to keep themselves healthy, but also their ability to understand the healthcare system. Biomed Central, a science, technology, and medicine publisher, wrote that "health literacy refers to the characteristics and social resources
needed for people to access, understand and use
information to make decisions about health" (Beauchamp 1).
What is it?
While there are a lot of studies that seem to show a connection between health literacy and physical health, there are also studies that show that many of these connections are weakened when the relative cognitive function of the different individuals is taken into account (Smith et al. 1249).
While there are studies being done on health literacy and its implications, it seems there is not enough data yet to accurately create solutions to the problem. Further studies should help us conquer this problem.
The term "Health Literacy" has been around for at least the last 45 years
It arose out of health promotion campaigns that began
in the 60's and 70's
These campaigns were
found be much more
effective among the
well-educated, and a
connection was made
between literacy and
health education that
would culminate in years
of study (Nutbeam)
A brief skeletal outline
What's the heart of the matter?
What is its history?
Are their conflicts surrounding it, and do they have any legs to stand on?
What are the facts?
Where is it going?
The Development of Health Literacy
Health literacy initially only dealt with a person's ability to understand health-related material
It has since been adapted to fit a much larger definition and is used for many different purposes
Nevertheless, there are still many different definitions in use, and all have slightly different meanings (Nutbeam)
Studies Supporting HL
One study shows that there is a connection between adults' health literacy and the quality of asthma control their children receive (Reem and Coustasse 59)
Another study shows that adults with lower health literacy tend to spend more money on healthcare services (Haun 1)
"Health Literacy Basics." Health Literacy - Fact Sheet: Health Literacy Basics. U.S. Department of Health, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
Beauchamp, Alison. "Distribution of Health Literacy Strengths and Weaknesses across Socio-demographic Groups: A Cross- sectional Survey Using the Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ)." BMC Public Health. BioMed Central, 21 July 2015. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
Nutbeam, Don. "Health Literacy as a Public Health Goal." Health Promotion International 15.3 (2000): 259-67. Health Promotion International. Oxford Journals, 2000. Web. 13 Sept. 2015.
Elbash, Reem, and Alberto Coustasse. "Inadequate Health Literacy Impacting Asthma Control In Children." Insights to a Changing World Journal 2015.1 (2015): 59-77. Academic Search Complete [EBSCO]. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
Haun, Jolie N., et al. "Association Between Health Literacy And Medical Care Costs In An Integrated Healthcare System: A Regional Population Based Study." BMC Health Services Research 15.1 (2015): 1-11. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Sept. 2015
Smith, Samuel G., Rachel O'Connor, David W. Baker, and Michael S. Wolf. "Health Literacy, Cognitive Ability, and Functional Health Status Among Older Adults." Health Services Research 49.4 (2014): 1249-267. Academic Search Complete [EBSCO]. Web. 12 Sept. 2015.
The European Health Literacy Survey was a study that took place in 2011 among 8 countries around Europe. It provided a lot of helpful information on relative health literacies, what needed to be improved, and what consequences poor health literacy could have.
If these latter studies are true, then our current data concerning health literacy may be largely flawed.