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J Health Commun. 2015 Apr;20(4):369-76. doi: 10.1080/10810730.2014.965368. Epub 2015 Jan 20.

The Health Literacy and ESL study: a community-based intervention for Spanish-speaking adults.

Author information

1
a Department of Family and Community Medicine, Public Health Program , University of New Mexico , Albuquerque , New Mexico , USA.

Abstract

Although Hispanics have a documented high risk of limited health literacy, there is a scarcity of research with this population group, and particularly with Hispanic immigrants who generally confront language barriers that have been related to low health literacy. The National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy identified community-based English-language instruction as a strategy that can facilitate a health literate society. However, the literature lacks discussion on this type of intervention. This randomized control trial aimed to test the feasibility of using conventional English-as-a-second-language (ESL) instruction for improving health literacy among Spanish-speaking adults. Objectives included the development, implementation, and evaluation of a health literacy/ESL curriculum. The Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (TOFHLA) in English was used to assess health literacy levels. Analyses included independent sample t test, chi-square, and multiple linear regression. A total of 155 people participated. Results showed a significantly higher increase in the TOFHLA posttest score in the intervention group (p = .01), and noticeable differences in health literacy levels between groups. Results indicate that ESL constitutes a promising venue for improving health literacy among Spanish-speaking adults. Incorporating health literacy-related content may provide additional benefits.

PMID:
25602615
PMCID:
PMC4385490
DOI:
10.1080/10810730.2014.965368
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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