How Do Your Score on Health Smarts?

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on October 17, 2011 · 3 comments

Literacy is the ability to read and write, but health literacy is the capacity to process information so that we can understand health facts and make health decisions. A person that is literate can have very low health literacy. It’s estimated that only 12% of US adults have a proficient health literacy level. In simple terms this means for every 100 people, 88 of us will have trouble navigating the health care system, understanding medical terms, and actively participating in disease management.

Complex health information can overwhelm a person, especially if it is given during a stressful or unfamiliar situation. You can improve your health literacy by asking 3 simple questions.

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Ask these questions of any health professional you see and if you don’t understand the answer, request that the person use simple language you can understand. Your health may depend on these 3 simple questions.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Janess December 15, 2011 at 12:42 pm

It’s always a relief when someone with obiouvs expertise answers. Thanks!

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ldxzmdxtznu December 16, 2011 at 3:24 am
ltejoskldnh December 18, 2011 at 7:12 am

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