Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: November 27, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412953948 | Print ISBN: 9781412928168 | Online ISBN: 9781412953948 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rima E. Rudd & Jennie E. Anderson & Lindsay Rosenfeld
The field of inquiry known as health literacy now represents a robust area of research in public health and medicine and is expanding into oral health and mental health. More than 1,000 published studies, multiple annual national conferences, white papers, and reports from prestigious government agencies and academies have put health literacy on the national agenda. For example, Surgeon General Richard Carmona noted, in 2004, that ‘health literacy is the currency for everything I do.’ Health literacy is considered a critical issue for consideration in analyses of health disparities and for all health-related communications. This entry focuses on definitions and measures of health literacy, as well as on links between health, health literacy, and other factors such as socioeconomic status and education. Reports from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) (2003) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) use the following definition of health literacy: ‘The degree to ...