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Glob Health Promot. 2013 Dec;20(4):35-43. doi: 10.1177/1757975913502686. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Assessing health literacy in rural settings: a pilot study in rural areas of Cluj County, Romania.

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1.Center for Health Policy and Public Health, Institute for Social Research, Faculty of Political, Administrative and Communication Sciences, Babeş-Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca, 7th Pandurilor St., Room 909, 400376 Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


Health literacy improves knowledge and builds skills to help individuals make appropriate decisions regarding their health. Over the past 20 years, several studies have described associations between health literacy and health outcomes. With respect to Romania, evidence is scarce on the level of health literacy, as well as on its determinants. Thus, the objectives of this study were to briefly screen functional health literacy levels in a sample of rural inhabitants, to assess the relationship between health literacy and reported health status, as well as to explore health literacy determinants within this population. Data were collected between September-November 2010, in four villages in Cluj County, Romania, using a cross-sectional survey. The mean age of respondents in the sample was 56 years, with roughly half of respondents being retired. The brief screening of health literacy suggested inadequate to marginal levels within the sample. Significant associations were observed between health literacy score and education, and self-perceived health status, whereas the relationship between health literacy and gender, and the presence of a chronic disease was not statistically significant. Limited health literacy has been shown to be common in people who rated their health as poor, those who attended only middle school, and individuals lacking basic information about their body. In order to minimize the adverse effects of low health literacy on health and health outcomes, efforts should be invested in identifying and addressing the health needs of adults with low and marginal health literacy, especially in underserved areas such as rural and remote settings, where access to health-related information is limited.


Health literacy determinants; Romania; health outcomes; rural settings

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