Dr. Barbara Huggins

Read for Life

September 20, 2007

Read for Life -  September 20, 2007It's a well known fact that when you can't read, your chances for getting a job are decreased and your chances for winding up behind bars are increased. But not being able to read or understand can also be the difference between life and death. Dr. Mom has more.

Inadequate or low health literacy is defined as the inability to read and comprehend basic health-related materials such as prescription bottles, appointment slips, and hospital forms. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 75 million adults in the United Sates have only basic or below basic health literacy.

People with strong literacy skills may have trouble obtaining, understanding, and using complex health information. For Americans who have low literacy skills, their health can be greatly affected by their inability to understand complex health information. A recent study from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine showed that older people with inadequate health literacy had a 50% higher mortality rate during a 5 year period than people with adequate reading skills.

Illiteracy statistics in America are alarming:

Many communities have literacy organizations offering classes to help adults. By providing smaller, more comfortable learning environments, adults can meet their goals of learning to read. For more information on these classes or to volunteer, call 903-533-0330, the Literacy Council of Tyler, or contact your local literacy council.

For more information:

NOTICE: Protected health information is subject to electronic disclosure.