Health Literacy in Canada: A Healthy Understanding (2008)

Six out of 10 Canadians, or 60 per cent of the population, lack the skills needed to adequately manage their health-care needs. By comparison, 48 per cent of Canadians have low levels of literacy in general.

The authors of this report point out that mastering health literacy tasks usually requires that adults use prose literacy, document literacy and numeracy skills at the same time. Therefore, health literacy involves more than the ability to read or to understand numbers. Context matters, as does the ability to find, understand, evaluate and communicate health-related information.

Canadians with the lowest health literacy skills were found to be more likely to be in poor or fair health as those with the highest skill levels. Health literacy levels also seem to affect health outcomes at the population level. For instance, the prevalence of diabetes declines as health literacy rises.

The authors say the research presented in this report suggests that daily reading habits have the single strongest effect on health literacy proficiency. Reading books, newspapers, magazines, websites, letters, notes or emails all helped to sustain or improve health literacy rates, regardless of education level.

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ISBN: 
978-0-9809042-1-5
Added: 
2010-01-13
APA citation
T. Scott Murray, Richard Desjardins, Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), Richard Shillington, Janet Hagey and Douglas Willms. Health Literacy in Canada: A Healthy Understanding 2008. Web. 25 May. 2022 <http://en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/health/health.pdf>
T. Scott Murray, Richard Desjardins, Canadian Council on Learning (CCL), Richard Shillington, Janet Hagey & Douglas Willms (2008). Health Literacy in Canada: A Healthy Understanding. Retrieved May 25, 2022, from http://en.copian.ca/library/research/ccl/health/health.pdf
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