Introduction: Assuring high quality health literacy for adolescents is important in the United Arab Emirates to facilitate government’s Vision 2021 objectives of superior health and intellectual attainment of young people, as well as to reduce very high prevalence of adolescent obesity and other behavioural and dietary risk factors for health. Methods: In mid-2016, the authors applied the validated Newest Vital Sign Health Literacy instrument to 440 Emirati nationals and Non-Emirati (expatriate) high school students in grades 7 to 12 with mean age of 14 years in Dubai, UAE. Results: This study indicates that the mean literacy score was 2.7/6 and that 27.95% were highly likely to suffer from limited health literacy, 38.64% of respondents were possibly literate, and while 33.41% were highly literate. Emirati females demonstrated higher health literacy compared with males (3.26, 95%, CI: 2.94 – 3.57 Vs 2.67, CI: 3.30 – 3.04). Non-Emirati male (2.73, 95% CI: 2.43 – 3.02) demonstrated higher health literacy compared with Emirati male. In contrast, Emirati female demonstrated higher health literacy compared with Non-Emirati female (2.36, 95% CI: 2.07 – 2.65). There was no significant difference in health literacy scores related to school grade. Conclusion: These findings indicate a low percentage of highly health literate UAE adolescents, highlighting the need to improve health literacy training among UAE adolescents, and especially among Emirati males.
Health literacy; adolescents; gender, Newest Vital Sign, United Arab Emirates
Article Language: Turkish English