No less than 33% of Belgian’s aged over 15 has a low level of health literacy, according to a new survey on health knowledge in the country.
Health literacy concerns the ability to find health information, understand it, evaluate it and make an informed decision regarding it. That is what emerged from the health survey conducted by Sciensano, the federal centre for health research.
The results have caused worry due to several studies which have shown that limited health literacy is linked to higher death rates and premature death, the report read.
Those who know less about their health have a weaker “therapy adherence” (their self-management of illness, particularly if it is chronic, is insufficient). They are also less likely to take part in screening programmes and more inclined to behaviour that harms health like smoking and drinking alcohol.
Sciensano is appealing for clearer messages aimed at vulnerable people and a streamlining of procedures. Medication package leaflets could contain clearer information for example.
The Brussels Times