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The importance of health literacy for community health

Gülay Yılmazel, Fevziye Çetinkaya.

Health literacy have been specified as being an item that enhances years of healthy life and quality, for healthcare professionals ensures acquisition of communication and clinical skills and for individuals involvement decision-mechanism in the health care field. Health literacy based on social and cultural factors in society and serves as a mediator between the individuals with the health system, education system and health issues. For planning health promotion activities, health literacy is considered as an important step and six general themes help to determine why health literacy is important for population health: Affecting the large numbers of people, poor health outcomes, increasing rates of chronic disease, rising health care costs, health information demands and equity. It was stated that supporting evidence of inadequate health literacy effects had incereased on individuals health. These evidences were shown as; using preventive health services in low level, delay to seek health care in symptomatic period, inability of individulas to understand their medical condition, lack adherence on medical advice/instructions, lack of self-care and increased mortality. Assessing of health literacy levels focuses on patient information. However, regardless the development level of countries, it had seen that health literacy levels were low in all over the world. In a report of World Health Organization Commission on Social Determinants of Health, the development of health literacy was accepted as an important tool for reduction of health inequalities. In this respect, proposed approaches were to start in health literacy education in early childhood, health literacy, to focus on the concept of health promotion in school education and to put an emphasis to adult education.

Key words: Health literacy, health education, health promotion, community health

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