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Plain Language Study Findings

This page defines plain language and links to EHS-Net study findings and recommendations in plain language.

What Is Plain Language?

Use of plain language is one way to make sure that information, products, and services are accessible and understandable to their intended audiences.

Approximately one-half of the adult population may lack the needed literacy skills to use the U.S. healthcare system. Low literacy has been linked to poor health outcomes such as higher rates of hospitalization and less frequent use of preventive services. Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions.

For more information about plain language and health literacy at CDC, visit the CDC Health Literacy Web site.

EHS-Net Studies in Plain Language

EHS-Net studies available in plain language are listed by study topic below.

Restaurant-related Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

General Public’s Beliefs About Gastrointestinal Illness

Restaurant Food Handling and Food Safety Practices

Foods Associated with Foodborne Illness

Food Handling Practices Associated with Foodborne Illness

Retail Food Safety Programs

Links to More Information about Plain Language and Health Literacy

  • Health Literacy (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) – links to health literacy tools, government resources, and reports and research
  • Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion (Institute of Medicine) – report from the Institute of Medicine about health literacy in America
  • Health Literacy Studies (Harvard School of Public Health) – overview of health literacy, as well as innovative materials, assessment tools, curricula, and more references on health literacy


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