Health Literacy Deficits Found Among Educated, Insured University Employees

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Abstract

Evidence has consistently shown that low/limited health literacy (HL) is associated with negative health consequences and higher costs for individuals and society. To generate internal data for employee training and health/wellness programming, an HL assessment of 120 university employees was conducted using the Newest Vital Sign (NVS), a valid and reliable clinical screening tool that asks individuals to interpret a nutrition label. Sociodemographic data were collected and time to administer the NVS tool was also measured. Even in this employed, well-educated sample (mean years of formal education was 16.6 years), 17% had scores indicating limited or possibly limited HL. Findings have implications for occupational training and health providers and programs. Even a well-educated workforce benefits from addressing HL challenges or situational issues with universal strategies. This project supports initiatives to assist employees better navigate, understand, and use health information and services to improve their health.

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