Health literacy is…

…having the necessary skills to be healthcare smart!

Oral communication skills – being able to ask questions, explain health concerns and problems, and understand health care providers and their staff.

Basic reading skills – being able to read instructions, label warnings, insurance and consent forms and follow written treatment plans.

Numeracy Skills – being able to use numbers for interpreting OTC and prescription labels.

 Accessing and Utilizing Services – being able to understand what services are available/appropriate, and then accessing care and actively managing one’s health.



What the Research ShowsScreen Shot 2014-01-23 at 10.25.56 AM

9 out of 10 adults are unable to understand basic health care information,
leading to poor health outcomes:

  • Skipping necessary medical tests
  • Ending up in the emergency room more often
  • Poor management of chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure2

Low Parent Literacy Leads to Child Health Disparities

    Based on 2003 NAAL Survey

  • Only 19.3% of parents were able to fill out health insurance forms correctly.
  • More and two thirds of parents were unable to fill in names and dates of birth on health insurance forms correctly.
  • 46% of parents were unable to follow medication instructions correctly
  • 42.7 percent of parents were able to perform nutrition/obesity tasks.
  • Overall, 14.9 % of the parents reported never using a food label.3

Resources for These Statistics

1. Kutner, M., Greenberg, E., Jin , Y., & Paulsen, C. ( 2006 ). The health literacy of America’s adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NCES 2006-483). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

2. Rudd, R . E., Anderson, J . E., Oppenheimer, S., & Nath , C. (2007). Health literacy: An update of public health and medical literature. In J. P. Comi ngs, B. Garner, & C. Smith. (E ds.), Review of adult learning and literacy (vol . 7) (pp 175–204). Mahwa h, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

3. Yin, H.S. et al. The Health Literacy of Parents in the United States: A Nationally Representative Study. Pediatrics (2009;124;S289/ DOI:101542/peds 2009-1162E)

Made possible by CCHAP – Colorado Children’s Healthcare Access Program.

CCHAP offers a training free to its affiliated practices.

Contact Marcia Carteret at 303-887-1002 to arrange a training.