By Christina Zarcadoolas
Advancing future health Literacy addresses the trouble in health and wellbeing literacy within the
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Additional info for Advancing Health Literacy: A Framework for Understanding and Action
S. qxd 5/4/06 2 1:21 PM Page 2 ADVANCING HEALTH LITERACY • Inadequate response in emergency situations • Poor health outcomes • Lack of self-efficacy and self-esteem • Financial drain on individuals and society • Social inequity The following are three examples of the dire consequences of the inability to successfully educate people about better health prevention and disease management in the United States: • Type 2 diabetes. 2 percent of the population (17 million people). The disease disproportionately affects minority populations.
What Are the Barriers to Health Literacy? qxd 5/4/06 1:21 PM Page 13 Health Literacy • Inaccuracy or incompleteness of information in mass media • Low-level reading abilities, especially among undereducated, elderly, and some segments of ethnic minority populations • Lack of empowering content that targets behavior change as well as direct information (social marketing strategies) Why Is Literacy So Important to Health Promotion? Literacy is not just about reading and writing. It has powerful individual and social consequences and corollaries (Olson, 1994).
Jonas Salk’s vaccine for polio was licensed in 1955, and polio remained a threat until the population at large embraced vaccination. As with tuberculosis, polio campaigns used a great number of local and national communication and education strategies. As medical research on polio advanced, public health promotion evolved from teaching about behaviors designed to prevent the disease (keeping children away from other unknown children), to explaining the vaccine clinical trials, and ultimately, and most important, to messages that encouraged inoculation of children.
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