A Qualitative Study Examining Latino Functional Health Literacy Levels and Sources of Health Information

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The purpose of this study was to determine the health information sources used by Latinos in southwest Ohio, identify individual Latino residents' functional health literacy levels, and identify any access barriers to those sources of health information. Results show almost two-thirds had low acculturation levels to US culture. Overall, the major source of health information is a medical setting, followed by media technology (which included the Internet). However, when it comes to being ill, the primary source becomes a media choice, then medical. The barriers to accessing health information included language and lack of confidence/knowledge. Participants reported moderate satisfaction with the sources of health information available, and had an ‘adequate’ health literacy level in Spanish. This study was important because it filled an existing information gap for the Latino community, a racial ethnic minority population in the southwest Ohio area. With the results of this study, health educators and other health care practitioners might be better able to understand the health care needs of the Latino community and could essentially create improved and culturally competent health communications.

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