Resources Choosing a healthy lifestyle, knowing how to seek medical care, and taking advantage of preventive measures require that people understand and use health information. The ability to obtain, process, and understand health information needed to make informed health decisions is known as health literacy. Given the complexity of the healthcare system, it is not surprising that limited health literacy is associated with poor health. This fact sheet summarizes key research study findings on the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes.
This usefully distinguishes it from spoken language. Since visible language and spoken language are fundamentally different, it is possible to assert that the end of literacy does not mean the end of language. While spoken languages are ubiquitous and diverse, only a relatively few of the nearly 7, languages developed a written equivalent.
As a result it is interesting and revealing to explore languages and societies as they transition from an oral culture to a literate culture. While there are contentious debates about the impact of literacy on primarily oral cultures, all these scholars chart changes in society and in ideas that parallel the adoption of visible language.
Ong suggests that literacy was the necessary precondition for science, democracy and individualism. Others, while taking a more nuanced approach, agree on many of the profound changes brought about by literacy.
|References||Patient and Affordable Care Act ofTitle V Health literacy is the use of a wide range of skills that improve the ability of people to act on information in order to live healthier lives.|
|What is literacy?||A number of studies did not find health literacy to explain health behaviors whereas other studies supported such a relationship. Health literacy, HIV, AIDS, Treatment adherence, Technological interventions, Health literacy measures, Aging, Disparities, Global literacy Introduction Health literacy continues to evolve as a concept because it shares commonalities with other fields such as decision-making, patient-provider communication, cognition [ 1 — 3 ], and basic academic skills such as reading and mathematics [ 45 ].|
|Definitions of Health Literacy||Plain language[ edit ] In order to have a population that understands health terms and can make proper health decisions, the language used by health professionals has to be at a level that others who are not in the medical field can understand.|
|Knowledge about medical conditions and treatment||Health Status and Health Care Access of Farm and Rural Populationsstates that both farm and rural populations experience lower access to health care along the dimensions of affordability, proximity, and quality, compared with their nonfarm and urban counterparts.|
More recent scholarship has moved from the anthropological analysis of literacy to the neurological perspective. The rise of technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI have allowed us to peer into the brain by watching activities in different areas as they are activated or remain dormant.
These are still relatively crude tools but they have allowed us to explore new frontiers in neurology including how we process visible language and what happens when we read.
Because of the work of Wolf and others, we know that literacy has rewired our brains. Literacy is not simply a tool we use, something we pick up and then put down. The acts of reading and writing create and reinforce certain neural connections.
Our plastic brain is shaped by this. It optimizes itself to respond to the needs of literacy. We change ourselves to be literate and to remain literate.
It has adapted to this stimulus in order to make sense of things. We think the way we do only because we have trained ourselves that way.
The Co-Evolution of Language and the Brainthe brain did not evolve thereby enabling language, but somewhat counter-intuitively, language evolved to fit the structure and function of the brain.
Or in other terms, the tool or the capacity shaped itself to the limitations or advantages of the brain. Research into the growing brain reveals that as babies we shed many of the neural connections we are born with; they are pared down and optimized.
We actually lose neural density and connections as a result. The difference between learning a new language as a youth as opposed to learning a language as an adult is a good illustration of the impact of this.
This pruning of our neural components allows us to sharpen specific functions and enhance connections that are more beneficial in our particular circumstance.
If we were to concentrate on other stimulus or inputs, we know that the brain would respond differently. Studies of television viewing confirm this and exposure to new media of other types appears to have a similar impact.
As a result, when we talk about post-literacy as a capacity or a tool we are also talking about creating or evolving the post-literate brain.
A Comment from Caitlin Marshall:Health literacy is a measurement of how well a person can find, understand and use health information. It incorporates not only the ability to read and understand presented information, but also takes into account social factors (such as age and culture), conceptual knowledge, listening and speaking skills.
Our level of literacy directly affects our ability to not only act on health information but also to take more control of our health as individuals, families and communities. While many definitions for health literacy exist, the definition that has been adopted in this paper is, - health Literacy Health Health.
Factors that Affect Health Literacy As public health professionals, we often assume people in our communities have a certain level of skills and knowledge to . Health literacy affects people's ability to: Navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services Share personal information, such as health .
Health Literacy is defined in the Institute of Medicine report, Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion, 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.".
Health literacy affects people's ability to: Navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services.
Share personal information, such as health history, with providers Health information can overwhelm even persons with advanced literacy skills. Medical science progresses rapidly.