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Health Literacy, Improving

  • By: Kami J. Silk & Samantha Nazione
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Health literacy, defined 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, is a challenge for improving health outcomes as approximately half of Americans have low health literacy skills. Demographics associated with low health literacy include being non-Caucasian, low income, less educated, and older. Because of the extent of this issue, many organizations, including Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, and the American Medical Association, have called for solutions. There are multiple points of entry for improving detection of low health literacy skills, as well as crafting health communication messages that are accessible to individuals with ...

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