About Health Literacy
What is Health literacy?
In Canada health literacy is defined as “the ability to access, comprehend, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life-course.”
Figures show that 60% of adults and 88% of seniors in Canada are not health literate. People who are not health literate have difficulty using the everyday health information that is routinely available in health care facilities, grocery stores, retail outlets, schools, through the media, and in their communities.
How Does the Public Health Agency of Canada Support Health Literacy?
PHAC is developing and sharing tools and products to help health professionals support and integrate health literacy into daily practice. The information in these pages will help health professionals speak, write, and interact in ways that can be easily understood by Canadians.
How Do I Learn More About Health Literacy?
Please visit us often as we are constantly adding information on health literacy to this site. You can subscribe to our e-alert to receive an email each time we add new health literacy content here.
For more information on health literacy visit our resources page.
Learn more about
This section includes links to Web sites, videos and supporting documents to help you learn and access information about health literacy.
- Vision for a Health Literate Canada: Report of the Expert Panel on Health Literacy (PDF Document)
Rootman & Gordon-El-Bihbety (2008)
- US National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy (PDF Document)
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion (2010)
- Family Health and Literacy: A Guide to Easy-to-Read Health Education Materials and Websites for Families (PDF Document)
World Education Resources
- Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand (PDF Document)
American Medical Association (2007)
- Human Resources and Skills Development Canada - Literacy and Essential Skills
- Canadian Public Health Association – Health Literacy Portal
- Canadian Council on Learning
- BC Literacy Website
- Impact BC: Health Improvement Action – Health Literacy Section
- US Department of Health and Human Services: Health Literacy Section
- Quick Guide to Health Literacy
US Department of Health and Human Services
- Health Literacy Special Collection: Tools and Resources for Health Literacy Initiatives
- Health Literacy Missouri (HLM)
- Littératie en santé (available in French only)
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