Health literacy, socioeconomic status and self-rated health in Japan

Yoko Furuya, Naoki Kondo, Zentaro Yamagata, Hideki Hashimoto
2013 Health Promotion International  
Health literacy (HL) is a key determinant of health in a contemporary society characterized by abundant information. Previous studies have suggested that basic or functional HL is positively associated with health, whereas evidences on the association between health and communicative/critical HL are scarce. Furthermore, confounding by socioeconomic status on HL-health association has been poorly tested. Using cross-sectional data from a nationally representative community-based survey in Japan,
more » ... ed survey in Japan, we investigated whether communicative/critical HL is associated with self-rated health independent of socioeconomic status. A total of 1237 subjects participated in this study; the response rate was 62%. To measure communicative/critical HL, we used three questions assessing the respondents' ability to select, to communicate to others and to evaluate specific healthrelated information. Potential confounders included demographic factors, household income, employment status, and educational attainment. A multivariate model revealed that good self-reported health was significantly associated with younger age [odds ratio (OR), 0.99; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.97-0.99], employment (OR, 2.89; 95% CI, 1.06-7.88) and higher communicative/critical HL scores (OR 2.75; 95%CI, 1.93-3.90). Respondents with lower education were likely to have poorer communicative/critical HL. These results imply that to close the health gap, policy interventions should focus on the promotion of HL among deprived sociodemographic groups.
doi:10.1093/heapro/dat071 pmid:24131729 fatcat:zhnru3heejetxnexfgkxnxrnwi