Health Literacy Definition

Improved Essays
Over the last decades, research has showed that health literacy is closely correlated with individual’s health, social and economic status. Surprisingly, according to the data from International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey 2003, Green and Riddell report that approximately 42 % of Canadians between the ages of 16 and 65 years fail to achieve reading level required for high school completion in Canada (Green, Riddell, 2003). This reading level requires the respondents to understand a sentence and perform the corresponding action based on their understanding. For instance, when reading directions printed on a package of pastille, one should be able determine the daily recommended number of pills based on the written direction. In fact, poor …show more content…
Health literacy is a set of stable individual capacities that enable one to acquire, interpret and use new information.
2. Health literacy is a dynamic state of an individual that is influenced by the current health care system.
3. Health literacy is an achieved level of knowledge that varies based on individual’s learning ability and the resources provided by health care system.
The first definition highlights the individual’s ability to make appropriate decision based on the level of capability to acquire, process and understand new information. These capacities are relatively stable over time and may be improved with educational programs. The second definition emphasizes the close relationship between individual’s ability to process information and the surrounding such as the health care provider, the health care system and the media. The last definition argues that health knowledge partially belongs to health literacy. So health literacy largely depends on individual’s ability and will to learn and the reliability of the learning resources (Baker 2006). Baker further points out that the lack of shared meaning of the central term eventually creates confusion and disagreement between researchers and reviewers, thus inhibiting the progress in the study of this field. Finally, he draws attention to the fact that none of the commonly used tools of measurement can fully
…show more content…
Commonly used tools includes TOFHLA, REALM and HALS. The two former tests are mostly used as short screening tools by clinicians in everyday practice with a broad range of population, while the latter one is often used as a comprehensive examination testing different health-related competencies in different domains (Nutbeam, 2008). The Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) consists of 2 parts. The first part tests one’s ability to interpret document and numbers with a series of multiple-choice questions. For instance, various medication labels are given to patients who needs to indicate the number of pills they should take, the time to take the pills and the expiration date of the medication. The second part tests patients’ level of reading comprehension and vocabulary by giving them three passages of text from which selected words have been deleted and replaced with blank (Medscape Nurses, 2007; Nutbeam, 2008). Thus, TOFHLA meanly tests the reading fluency of patients. The Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM) consists of a list of 66 medical words of different levels such as fat, pelvic jaundice and osteoporosis. The examiner scores the patients based on their capabilities of recognizing and pronouncing each words correctly (Barker, 2006; Medscape Nurses, 2007). Thus REALM meanly focuses on patients’ level of medical-related vocabulary. The

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    Health Literacy Analysis

    • 1402 Words
    • 6 Pages

    Introduction Health literacy constitutes a series of varied skills and understandings that enable an individual to effectively function within a variety of health contexts, and is especially important to education as it imbues students with the understandings and skillsets required to make informed evaluations and decisions about their health. This is especially important given that good health is a well-known attribute of a successful learner. Ideally, a health literacy program would begin in the…

    • 1402 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Essay On Health Literacy

    • 329 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Health literacy is a significant factor in patients’ health status and outcomes. The external factors of demographics, educational attainment, and health knowledge have not been thoroughly explored. The journal reviews the proposed model of health literacy as a combination of health knowledge, educational attainment and cognitive ability and tests its relation to measures of health literacy taking into account demographic variability. This was a quantitative study with 359 volunteer English and…

    • 329 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    tracking risk factors and trends of population health. The resulting data may be used to enhance public health prevention strategies or disease management and may also provide further identification of risk factors. According to Choi (2012) surveillance is considered to be an essential function the of public health system. The author quotes the 2001 definition of public health surveillance from the Center for Disease Control noting “public health surveillance is the ongoing, systematic collection…

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays