Literacy and Public Health

Michael S. Wolf*, Ruth M. Parker, Scott C. Ratzan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The impact of limited literacy skills on health has been well documented, giving rise to a new field of study termed "health literacy". This is a multifaceted concept defined as one's ability to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Attention to health literacy has emphasized the need for health care systems to improve the manner in which health information is communicated to patients and families. In this article, the meaning and measure of health literacy is discussed taking an international perspective, along with possible responses to the problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Public Health
PublisherElsevier Inc
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780128037089
ISBN (Print)9780128036785
StatePublished - Oct 6 2016


  • Empowerment
  • Health education
  • Health information
  • Health literacy
  • Literacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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