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What is Health Literacy?

“The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions”

-HHS Healthy People 2010

If health literacy is the ability to read, understand and act on health care info, let’s look at what people with low functional health literacy are less likely to do well:

  • Less likely to understand written health information
  • Less likely to understand how to take their medicines
  • Less likely to be able to engage in self-care
  • Less likely to act upon necessary directions
  • Less likely to say that they don’t understand!

Health Literacy problems affect people from all backgrounds, especially those with chronic health problems. Watch this short video on patient interaction from the American Medical Association to understand the problems that people face in these situations.