Health Literacy and Heart and Lung Disease

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Low health literacy has a critical impact on the cost and quality of health care. Three out of ten Canadians are at the lowest level of general literacy, leaving them at risk of being unable to read instructions for medications, easily understand written instructions, or fully comply with their treatment regimen. This realization has resulted in an increased focus on health and literacy linkages, and has sparked concern across the spectrum of health care providers about how to work effectively with low literate populations. "Health literacy" as a link between literacy and health is, therefore, becoming increasingly important for social, economic and health development.

During this session, a number of speakers describe their research exploring various aspects of the relationship between health literacy and health outcomes. This session was held as part of a Peter Wall Institute International Roundtable at The University of British Columbia.