Describe an example that illustrates the difference between literacy and health literacy. Then describe one potential health-related consequence to low health literacy. Finally, describe one...

Describe an example that illustrates the difference between literacy and health literacy. Then describe one potential health-related consequence to low health literacy. Finally, describe one population at risk for potential health problems due to low health literacy levels and explain why they are at risk.

On your thoughtson the media presented. Then explain two ways low health literacy might influence the actions of public health leaders. Finally, explain two ways the information provided in the media may impact the development of your public health campaign and why

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that one of the primary differences between literacy and health literacy is the understanding of implications of one's choices on one's health.  Health literacy can be seen as "the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions."  This notion of "capacity" is the defining element within health literacy. In this definition of health literacy, the consequences of a lower capacity to make informed choices is evident. When individuals have a lower health literacy reservoir, inappropriate health literacy decisions are made.  The results can be catastrophic in terms of individuals wishing to live lives free of disease or health risks.

One population at risk for potential health problems due to low health literacy levels is our nation's young people.  Young people are at risk for health challenges in their lifetimes as a result of parents who suffer from low health literacy:

Health literacy may be a critical and modifiable factor for improving preventive care and reducing health disparities. Recent studies among adults have established an independent association between lower health literacy and poorer understanding of preventive care information and poor access to preventive care services. Children of parents with higher literacy skills are more likely to have better outcomes in child health promotion and disease prevention. 

Children are at risk for many health issues as a result of low health literacy for themselves and on their parents' part.  For children, they find themselves at the mercy of dual forces that might suffer from low health literacy.  Children also find themselves subject to much in way of high calorie, high fat diets that can impact a child's lifestyle for an extended of time.  "Fast food" consumption at such high rates is a reflection of low health literacy.  The lifestyle that is so dominated by electronics usage and a lack of physical activity only compounds this, reflective of a low health literacy.  When parents fail to give health literate guidance, children find themselves at even greater risk of health issues.

The media plays a role in this process.  Constant television bombardment from advertisers of junk food and non- healthy opportunities inundate children.  These commercials fail to acknowledge the health risk involved, furthering those with lower health literacy to acquiesce.  Public health leaders have asserted the need to change this condition, seeking to bring awareness to the challenges presented.  This comes in the form of the First Lady making healthy nutrition as a part of her platform and encouraging children to engage in physical activity.  It is also evident in how athletes like NFL encourage kids to "play for 60 minutes."  The media can play a role in this initiative through inundating children and parents with health risks in modern fast food and other consumptive elements.  One can only hope that such media attention can impact the public health campaign to get younger people to become more aware of what on with their health.   

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thewanderlust878's profile pic

thewanderlust878 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 3) Salutatorian

Posted on

Often times it is difficult to distinguish between people who are health literate and people who are not. It may seem easy, just by looking at someone who is overweight you may think that they are not health literate, but sometimes that it not the case. It is possible for someone to know how to take care of their bodies properly, along with their family, but do not implement it. Of course, one's health is not based solely off of the food you eat and if you exercise; it also is about the environment you live in, how you fuel your brain (by reading, going to school, etc) and other factors. 

In some cases people cannot afford to provide their families with many healthy choices, such as organic food, the cleanest living environment, etc. While these people know what is good for them and what is not, sometimes it is hard to be able to pay for these luxuries. 

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