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Health Literacy

Health literacy refers to individuals’ abilities to acquire, process, understand, and use high-quality health information to make informed health-related decisions. Health literacy has emerged from two distinct perspectives in clinical care and public health: The clinical care perspective asserts health literacy moderates health outcomes, while the public health perspective positions health literacy as an outcome of interest. An evolving concept, health literacy increasingly requires individuals to utilize electronic resources such as the Internet, social media, and mobile applications (apps) to access and understand health information. Low health literacy correlates with negative outcomes across the lifespan, including poor health knowledge, poor self-management, higher health-care costs, and increased mortality rates, especially for older adults. This entry examines issues related to health literacy during childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, ...

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