Literacy is the strongest predictor of an individual’s health status.
A 2003 study by the National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL) found that 36% of the population has limited health literacy skills (22% Basic; 14% Below Basic). Only about 12% are considered Proficient.
There is a direct link between the level of health literacy and health disparities. People with limited literacy:
- Report poorer overall health
- Have poorer ability to manage chronic diseases
- Have poorer outcomes
- Are less likely to understand their diagnosis
- Are less likely to have screening/preventive care
- Are more likely to be hospitalized/re-hospitalized
The benefits of improved health literacy include better health outcomes for Kansans, more efficient use of health resources, and reduced costs.
This is a critical time for Kansas to establish a strong voice for health literacy – both within our state and externally. Health Literacy Kansas is the only group in Kansas (to our knowledge) bringing together organizations working toward this goal.