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J Epidemiol Community Health. 2007 Dec;61(12):1086-90.

Functional health literacy and health-promoting behaviour in a national sample of British adults.

Author information

1
Cancer Reseach UK Health Behaviour Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 2-16 Torrington Place, London WC1E 6BT, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To measure the prevalence of limited functional health literacy in the UK, and examine associations with health behaviours and self-rated health.

DESIGN:

Psychometric testing using a British version of the Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) in a population sample of adults.

SETTING:

UK-wide interview survey (excluding Northern Ireland and the Scottish Isles).

PARTICIPANTS:

759 adults (439 women, 320 men) aged 18-90 years (mean age _ 47.6 years) selected using random location sampling.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Functional health literacy, self-rated health, fruit and vegetable consumption, physical exercise and smoking.

RESULTS:

We found that 11.4% of participants had either marginal or inadequate health literacy. Multivariable logistic regression analysis indicated that the risk of having limitations in health literacy increased with age (adjusted odds ratio 1.04; 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.06), being male (odds ratio _ 2.04; 95% confidence interval 1.16 to 3.55), low educational attainment (odds ratio _ 7.46; 95% confidence interval 3.35 to 16.58) and low income (odds ratio _ 5.94; 95% confidence interval 1.87 to 18.89). In a second multivariable logistic regression analysis, every point higher on the health literacy scale increased the likelihood of eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (odds ratio _ 1.02; 95% confidence interval 1.003 to 1.03), being a non-smoker (odds ratio _ 1.02; 95% confidence interval 1.0003 to 1.03) and having good self-rated health (odds ratio _ 1.02; 95% confidence interval 1.01 to 1.04), independently of age, education, gender, ethnicity and income.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results encourage efforts to monitor health literacy in the British population and examine associations with engagement with preventative health behaviours.

PMID:
18000132
PMCID:
PMC2465677
DOI:
10.1136/jech.2006.053967
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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