Resources What is health literacy? Health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Navigate the healthcare system, including filling out complex forms and locating providers and services Share personal information, such as health history, with providers Engage in self-care and chronic-disease management Understand mathematical concepts such as probability and risk Health literacy includes numeracy skills. For example, calculating cholesterol and blood sugar levels, measuring medications, and understanding nutrition labels all require math skills. Choosing between health plans or comparing prescription drug coverage requires calculating premiums, copays, and deductibles.
National Assessment of Educational Progress
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Adults with the most limited health literacy rarely use digital resources for health information. Fifteen percent of adults with below basic health literacy used the Internet "some" or "a lot" for information on health topics, compared with 31 percent of those with basic health literacy, 49 percent with intermediate health literacy, and 62 percent of those with proficient health literacy. For all levels, no single type of print materials was as important as non-print sources, including broadcast media such as radio or television. Adults at the below basic level were the least likely to use any written material to obtain information on health topics. Among those at the below basic level, 43 percent indicated that they used written information infrequently, far less than those at the intermediate and proficient levels. Information from health professionals was one of the most important sources of information on health topics for all health literacy levels. The following strategies are options for policymakers, health care administrators, educators, and health care and public health professionals to consider.
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Other sources may term such individuals functionally illiterate if they are unable to use basic sources of written information like warning labels and driving directions. The CIA The World Factbook states that "There are no universal definitions and standards of literacy" and that their statistics are based on the most common definition - "the ability to read and write at a specified age. Information on literacy, while not a perfect measure of educational results, is probably the most easily available and valid for international comparisons. Finally, he suggests that because illiterate people are likely to be unemployed and may not have telephones or permanent addresses, the census bureau would have been unlikely to find them. Department of Education was asked by Congress to undertake a national literacy survey of American adults.
Long-term trend[ edit ] Long-term trend NAEP is administered to 9-, , and year-olds periodically at the national level. Long-term trend assessments measure student performance in mathematics and reading and allow the performance of today's students to be compared with students since the early s. Although long-term trend and main NAEP both assess mathematics and reading, there are several differences between them. In particular, the assessments differ in the content assessed, how often the assessment is administered, and how the results are reported. These and other differences mean that results from long-term trend and main NAEP cannot be compared directly.