Abstract

Background: In women’s health, literacy determines their participation in self and family health promotion. Low health literacy is as barrier for understanding medical recommendations, disease prevention and health care.

Aim: To assess women’s health literacy and relative factors in Mashhad (Iran).

Methods: Women referring to healthcare centers in Mashhad in 2012 and 2013, participated in this cross-sectional study by stratified sampling method. The validated Persian version of Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine-revised questionnaire was used. Vocabulary comprehension and reading scores of health literacy was assessed. Comparisons were done in demographic subgroups by ANOVA, Mann-Whitney U, Kruskal-Wallis, Pearson correlation coefficient, and Chi-Square tests. 

Results: In total, 250 women with a mean age of 32.1±10.23 years and the mean education level of 10.58±3.67 years were studied. The mean reading score was 11.58±2.51 and the mean vocabulary comprehension score was 17.24±4.73. Participants' health literacy score had positive correlation with age and education, and significant difference in health literacy scores between occupational groups was seen. Housewives' health literacy scores were lower than others (p<0.05). 

Conclusion: Low health literacy was a common problem amongst younger women, especially among women who had less education. These women are at risk of early marriage and child bearing and require more health care. Health care professionals should use effective methods for easier transfer recommendation, also, producing medical information booklets, texts, and videos for different community subgroups through public media or even in cyberspace with clear and common words consisting of essential information.

 

Keywords: Health Literacy, Health Promotion, Women, Iran
 
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