Health Literacy Level of Adults Referring to Public Libraries Covered by the Institution of Public Libraries of the Country

Masoumeh Ansari, Mehrdad Khaledian, Maryam Poorsani

Abstract


Introduction: Health literacy is a personal and social capacity for accessing, understanding,
evaluating information and health services and their optimal utilization for health promotion.
Public libraries are one of the ways which make the information accessible to the public.
Given the importance of public libraries in providing people with access to information such
as health information, in this research, we investigated the health literacy level of people aged 18-60 years old who referred to libraries covered by the public libraries of Sanandaj city.
Methods: This study is a descriptive and applied survey. The research tool was an Iranian
Health Literacy Questionnaire (IHLQ). According to the referrals to the libraries covered by
the public libraries of Sanandaj city, the sample size was determined by clustering method to be 295 people. Questionnaires were completed in autumn and winter of 2016 by individuals aged 18-60 years old who referred to libraries covered by public libraries of Sanandaj. Data were analyzed through SPSS23.0 software, using One-way ANOVA and independent t-test. The final score of health literacy was calculated on a scale of 0 to 20, so that a score of less than 10 indicates “weak”, a score of 14-10 shows “moderate”, and those more than 14 indicates “sufficient” health literacy level.
Results: A significant relationship was found in the level of health literacy with age (P=0.002) and occupation (P<0.001), but there was no significant relationship between health literacy level and education level and gender. The mean of health literacy in the subcomponent of “knowledge” with the score of 14.91±1.05 was highest and “getting health information” with a score of 7.26±0.31 and after that “reading” with a score of 8.48±0.52 were the lowest values. The findings of the study showed that 25.8% (76 people) had sufficient health literacy, 49.5% (146) had moderate health literacy, and 24.7% (73) had weak health literacy. Therefore, the level of health literacy among people aged 18-60 years old in the libraries covered by the public libraries of the city of Sanandaj was “moderate.»
Conclusion: The level of health literacy among people aged 18-60 years old in the libraries
covered by the public libraries of the city of Sanandaj was “moderate”. Regarding the average  health literacy level of the studied community, it seems that the provision of health-related  content by the public libraries institution and the health care centers is effective in improving the health literacy level of the general population.
Keywords: Health literacy, Public libraries institute, Sanandaj, Iranian Health literacy
Questionnaire


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