Public Health 500 word discussion

DUE 3/30/18 7 P.M EST

Health Literacy
The government has defined health literacy as “The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions” (Healthy People 2020, 2011). Scholars have demonstrated that health literacy skills are stronger predictors of health status than age, income, employment status, education level, and race or ethnicity. Individuals with inadequate health literacy often struggle with basic tasks when managing a chronic condition such as reading and comprehending prescription bottles, appointment slips, self-management instructions, and educational brochures. The problems are compounded when the individual has several conditions requiring different medications. Inadequate health literacy can be a barrier to controlling disease that can lead to medication errors, increased hospitalization, poor health outcomes, and greater health care costs.


*Provide an example that illustrates the difference between literacy and health literacy.
*Describe one potential health-related consequence to low health literacy and a population at risk for this potential consequence, explaining why they are at risk.
Sample Discussion Answer Guide
Example illustrating the difference between literacy and health literacy:
Literacy refers to the ability to read and write, while health literacy involves the ability to understand and use health-related information effectively. For example, an individual who is literate may be able to read a prescription label, but may not understand the dosage instructions or potential side effects. On the other hand, an individual with adequate health literacy would be able to understand the dosage instructions, identify potential side effects, and take appropriate actions to manage them.

Potential health-related consequence to low health literacy and a population at risk:
Individuals with low health literacy may be at risk for medication errors, increased hospitalization, poor health outcomes, and greater healthcare costs. One population at risk for these potential consequences is older adults. Older adults may experience age-related declines in cognitive abilities, such as memory and attention, which can make it more difficult to understand and remember health-related information. Additionally, older adults may have multiple chronic conditions and take multiple medications, which can increase the complexity of managing their health. Without adequate health literacy skills, older adults may struggle to properly manage their medications, leading to negative health outcomes and increased healthcare costs.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). Health literacy: Improving health, health systems, and health policy around the world. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

Berkman, N. D., Sheridan, S. L., Donahue, K. E., Halpern, D. J., & Crotty, K. (2011). Low health literacy and health outcomes: An updated systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 155(2), 97-107.

Kutner, M., Greenberg, E., Jin, Y., & Paulsen, C. (2006). The health literacy of America’s adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. National Center for Education Statistics.

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