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Where do adults -- and adult learners -- get their health information?

Hello Health Literacy Colleagues,

This article from the American Council on Science and Health "Health Literacy - Understanding the Physician's Explanations Are A Big Problem" may be of interest.

Two things in the article that caught my attention:

  • "To understand a health problem, to be able to give informed consent, you need reading skills and number skills."  For those of you who teach health and/or health literacy, do you bring in an informed consent document and teach learners what its purpose is, what the details in the information sheet mean, and what signing the informed consent form means? If so, how do you handle difficult vocabulary, and the length and difficulty of the document? What other challenges do your students find in reading an informed consent document?
  •  "A new study in the Journal of Aging and Health explores where adults, age 45 to 74 and presumably the most in need of advice seek information using a survey of adult competencies gathered from 2012 to 2014"

Where did individuals seek information?

Category

Source of Most information

Not a source of information

Health Professionals

49%

5 %

Internet

36%

23%

Television

31%

10%

Friends and Family

21%

7%

Books

16%

19%

Radio

9%

34%

Newspapers

9%

32%

Magazines

9%

23%

"But people, potential patients, selections differed when characterized by literacy. Individuals with poorer literacy made use of health professionals and the internet less often. The reasons for that may be attributed to the fact that the internet remains, for all the pictures and videos, an information source navigated by reading. Or it may be that literacy and income are fellow travelers, where those with less literacy have less income and access to physicians."

If you are a teacher who addresses health literacy, would a simple survey that you prepare, that asks students where they get their health information from, and that offers the above categories, be useful to you and your students? Would it make an interesting discussion? Would you use the above table to compare their answers with?

David J. Rosen

djrosen123@gmail.com

 

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