Health communication theory, research, and practice all acknowledge the vital role associated with math competence in health information processing, placing a primary emphasis on math skills. Numeracy is defined as the mathematical skills that enable an individual to cope with the practical demands of everyday life and, as such, numeracy is a critical component of math competence. Numeracy relates to the ability to understand information about health and risk, with the scope of math skills needed to competently address health and risk information increasing as science and technology advance opportunities to present personal risk estimates in complex ways. Estimates linked to genetic susceptibility, age, sex, and other health status indicators, for example, can be forecast in many instances, with numeracy contributing to individual interpretations of ...

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