Health Literacy

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What is health literacy?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, health literacy can be defined as the degree to which an individual has the capacity to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information and services to make appropriate health decisions.

Why is health literacy important?

Health care is a part of our everyday lives and health literacy can help us to prevent health problems through improved health self-management. Even people that read and write well can experience difficulty with health literacy in some of the following situations:

  • They aren’t familiar with medical terms.
  • They have to interpret statistics and evaluate risks and benefits of treatment.
  • They are diagnosed with a serious illness and are scared and confused.

What can we do to help people with health literacy?

  • Create and provide information and services at a basic reading level so that people can understand and use most effectively.
  • Partner with educators and others to help people become more familiar with health information and health literacy skills.
  • Build our own skills as communicators.

Where can I find additional information?