EDITORIAL The Relationship Between Literacy and Health ECENT REPORTS FROM THE INSTITUTE OF cultural and conceptual knowledge, listening, speak- Medicine and the Agency for Healthcare Re- ing, reading, and writing. Just adding the requirement search and Quality have brought increased of conceptual knowledge substantially raises the expec- attention to the association between lit- tations of what it means to be health literate. R eracy and health and the potential role of lit- Researchers and policy makers often point out (cor- 1-3 eracy in disparities in health care and health outcomes. rectly) that people who can read well often have poor health Investigations conducted mainly during the past 15 years literacy (meaning that they do not understand complex have found that adults with low literacy generally have less health conditions or have trouble accessing or using medi- health-related knowledge, manifest poorer control of their cal care). However, a person who can read well but has little chronic illnesses, are less likely to receive preventive health knowledge or facility with health issues will score highly services, and are more likely to be hospitalized. on the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults or other Although the association between low literacy and
JAMA Internal Medicine – American Medical Association
Published: Sep 26, 2005
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