Health Literacy In Health Care

1331 Words 5 Pages
Health literacy is defined as an individual’s ability to use cognitive, social and navigational skills to obtain, process and understand health information and services in order to make appropriate and beneficial health decisions (Lambert & Keogh, 2014; WHO, 2015). The concept of health literacy is a major determinant of a population’s health, meaning it is an important concept to grasp from an early age. Therefore, strategies on how to improve health literacy of the population will be discussed, as well as the importance of health professionals and health literacy in general and the relationship that health literacy plays in primary health care.

Health literacy is a vital skill for achieving positive health outcomes and reducing health inequalities.
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This strategy would equip most, if not all of the population of younger current and future generations with the knowledge required to make appropriate and beneficial health decisions, potentially eliminating poor health literacy and furthermore promoting health equity. Research shows that adolescents are more likely to take on board health information than adults as they generally are still developing a routine or view on their own health care (Manganello, 2007). Conversely, adolescents may be disinterested and reluctant to listen as health may not be a major focus in their lives, as a study shows a quarter of students interviewed about health literacy stated they were uninterested in learning about health (Brown, Teufel & Birch, 2007). However, this ignorance towards their own health is more of a reason to incorporate a health literacy program into schools, as an adolescent should be beginning to maintain their own health in order to develop a healthy routine for life as many of the habits a person makes during adolescence become permanent (Salyers & Mckee, …show more content…
Teenage pregnancy, mental health conditions and recreational drug use and alcoholism are the three major health risks affecting adolescents (BHC, 2015). Research has shown that by incorporating education on mental health literacy into schools, an adolescent’s understanding of where to seek help and recognising symptoms were improved. For example, in a pre-test on mental health only 12-13% of students were able to identify anxiety disorder. However, after completing an education program on mental disorders this number significantly increased (Skre, Friborg, Breivik, Johnson, Amesen & Wang, 2013). This is evidentiary that adolescents are successful respondents to information provided on health literacy. Furthermore, the need for a health literacy program in schools is evident as in 2005, 41% of Year Eight students assessed scored below the basic level of understanding for scientific information (NCES,

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