In this chapter, we examine the impact of low health literacy on health outcomes. We review the body of research that has been published internationally, noting that the majority of these studies are describing simply the various associations between adult literacy skills and health outcomes rather than causation. Specifically, lack of reading fluency and low levels of health vocabulary (i.e., low literacy as applied to health) have been linked to problems with the use of preventive services, delayed diagnoses, understanding of one's medical condition, adherence to medical instructions, self-management skills, physical and mental health, and increased mortality risk. We consider what this evidence may say about possible causal pathways between health literacy and health outcomes and, very briefly, discuss the potential for interventions.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Health Literacy in Context|
|Subtitle of host publication||International Perspectives|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||18|
|State||Published - Dec 1 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas