Resources    |    Glossary    |    Contents






Individual Factors that Affect Health Literacy

Individual knowledge and skills, along with past experiences and other demographic, cultural, and environmental factors, affect the way in which the public understands and uses health information.  


Think about the skills and knowledge required for the following tasks:

         Understanding a newspaper article about a recent Salmonella outbreak (basic reading and comprehension).


         Calculating the amount of calories in 1.5 servings of macaroni and cheese, based on a nutrition label (basic math).


         Knowing that sodium is another word for salt and choosing a product with less sodium over one with more sodium (knowledge of nutrition, jargon, and table format).


         Determining that severe is a more serious threat than elevated, and deciding to take appropriate actions (knowledge and understanding risk).

Can you think of additional factors?
Type them in the space below.

We must take these individual factors into consideration when we plan and deliver health messages and services.