The importance of understanding health information

It just might save your life.

A recent UK study published in the British Medical Journal found that people with low health literacy (i.e., people who have trouble understanding health information) are more likely to die prematurely. The low health literacy group was 75% more likely to die than people with medium or high health literacy. Although this study was restricted to older adults (52 years and older), the findings aren’t that surprising.

I often find it startling just how little most people know about health. Even when faced with life-threatening conditions, a lot of folks will just take the pill the doctor prescribes and that’s it. They don’t research their condition in order to find out what’s going on with their body. Yikes.

I realize I am probably preaching to the choir…chances are you wouldn’t be reading this blog unless you had some sort of interest in health. What have your experiences been like with friends and family? Why do you think people don’t take the time to educate themselves about their health?

You can read a synopsis of the study here. Full study available here.

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2 thoughts on “The importance of understanding health information

  1. I go through through the same number of issues: it won’t work, you’re crazy, it’s hogwash , it’s make believe – I heard it all . I only talk about these things with people that I think are emotionally and intellectually ready! Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:)

  2. Great post! I think people only educate themselves when there’s a problem with their health. All of a sudden they have these weird symptoms, so what do they do? They google them and diagnose themselves using WebMD. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And the key to prevention is health literacy. People need to understand what’s going on with their health. We can’t hold our doctors responsible for our health. It’s up to us to be healthy.

    This is one of the reasons why my friend and I started our blog http://getphyt.org
    getPHYT (Public Health for Youth & Teens)

    By mixing public health with pop culture, we hope to increase health literacy and raise awareness among youth and teens.

    Please check out my blog http://getphyt.org

    I’d love to hear what you think about it!

    getPHYT, Exercise Your Mind.

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