Written by: Morgan Shawler, CFW Health Fitness Specialist
Imagine, you are looking at your health checkup report and the readings say: 124/79 mmHg, 58 mg/dL, 72 bpm and the list goes on. You are thinking to yourself, “Are these good or are these bad? What does mmHg even mean? What are HDLs?” To answer the questions, yes, these readings are around the typical range for blood pressure, HDLs, and heart rate; mmHg stands for millimeters of mercury, and HDLs are high density lipoproteins.
Many Americans leave the doctor’s office with their information, but do not understand or know how to read it. Here is where the importance of health literacy comes to play. The term “health literacy” was first used in 1974. Today, the common meaning for this term is the capacity for people to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.
The greater emphasis on health literacy outside of health care settings has the potential to impact preventative health and reduce the pressure on health care systems. In other words, health literacy is relevant to those who may never become “patients.” Having knowledge of your health can ultimately prevent those preventative chronic health conditions. That being said, if you ever feel like you do not have an A+ in Health Literacy, do not be afraid to ask your primary health care provider.
This month, the team will be bringing information to help inform you on the importance of health literacy.
Want more? Click on the links below for more health and fit tips from CFW professionals.
Anita Peerson, Margo Saunders, Health literacy revisited: what do we mean and why does it matter?, Health Promotion International, Volume 24, Issue 3, September 2009, Pages 285–296,