Health literacy is a set of understandings and skills that contribute to health and well-being. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, health literacy is the ability to obtain, process, and understand the basic information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

Research shows that people with high levels of health literacy are better able to take care of themselves and those within their care, such as children or older adults. They are less likely to arrive in medical offices or emergency rooms with advanced illness or injury. They are more likely to follow recommended preventive practices such as appropriate screenings, flu shots, and healthy lifestyles.

Assessment of Health Literacy

A national assessment of health literacy found that only 12% of the ...

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