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The original item was published from 1/21/2022 10:00:53 AM to 1/22/2023 12:00:03 AM.

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Public Health

Posted on: January 21, 2022

[ARCHIVED] Health Literacy - What is it & why is it important?


Health literacy has been defined by the CDC as the degree to which individuals have the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others. 

This is not necessarily something we think about when we are healthy, but we should all be better prepared for future health needs. A large part of this being, health literacy. 

There are many factors to consider involving your health literacy including understanding the healthcare system, your ability to communicate with providers (and the confidence to ask them questions when you need better understanding), and the ability to find health information and understand basic medical terms. Additionally, other factors are personal mental and physical limitations. 

If you lack confidence in your ability to understand the health care system and medical terminology, you are definitely not alone! Be up front with your provider and don't be afraid to ask questions to help you understand. Most doctors want to help you understand your health and don't mind answering questions and providing other resources that may help you.

If you feel you do not have a strong health literacy foundation it may affect your ability to make good decisions about your health, to seek the proper care you need, to follow prescribed treatment programs, to manage illnesses (especially a chronic disease), and to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with health literacy and ensure you are prepared to take care of your health. Consider reaching out to those in your life who may have a limitation in one of the mentioned areas and offer support in their health journey.

Learn more about Health Literacy online at

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