In 2015 Public Health England and the Institute of Health Equity published a report entitled “Improving health literacy to reduce health inequalities”. This showed that up to 61 per cent of the working age population in England finds it difficult to understand health and wellbeing information. Low levels of health literacy impact significantly upon a person’s ability to:
- manage long term conditions;
- engage with preventative programmes and make informed healthy lifestyle choices; and
- keep to medication regimes.
This leads to worse health outcomes across a range of indicators, increased health inequalities for affected individuals, and increased preventable mortality.
“the strongest correlation to ill health – stronger than education level, deprivation, age or ethnicity – is health literacy”.