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J Health Commun. 2013;18 Suppl 1:172-84. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2013.825668.

The relationship between health, education, and health literacy: results from the Dutch Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey.

Author information

1
a Centre for Nutrition, Prevention and Health Services , National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) , Bilthoven , The Netherlands.

Abstract

Health literacy has been put forward as a potential mechanism explaining the well-documented relationship between education and health. However, little empirical research has been undertaken to explore this hypothesis. The present study aims to study whether health literacy could be a pathway by which level of education affects health status. Health literacy was measured by the Health Activities and Literacy Scale, using data from a subsample of 5,136 adults between the ages of 25 and 65 years, gathered within the context of the 2007 Dutch Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey. Linear regression analyses were used in separate models to estimate the extent to which health literacy mediates educational disparities in self-reported general health, physical health status, and mental health status as measured by the Short Form-12. Health literacy was found to partially mediate the association between low education and low self-reported health status. As such, improving health literacy may be a useful strategy for reducing disparities in health related to education, as health literacy appears to play a role in explaining the underlying mechanism driving the relationship between low level of education and poor health.

PMID:
24093354
PMCID:
PMC3814618
DOI:
10.1080/10810730.2013.825668
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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