It is estimated that 36% of U.S. adults possess only basic or below basic health literacy skills (NAAL, 2003). Of those 36%, individuals over the age of 65 are in the highest risk group. (NAAL, 2003) Health literacy is commonly defined as an individual’s ability to obtain, process, understand and act upon information to make decision related to health.
The ICGI supports expanding the definition to not only include health professionals (care, prevention & promotion) but also healthcare systems. Health professionals can positively impact health outcomes by their capacity to clearly communicate, educate and empower those they serve to make informed health related decisions (MHLP). Healthcare systems can evaluate the complexities and demands of their system and find a balance with the skills and abilities of those they serve (Calgary Charter). Together we can work together to improve health literacy skills.