An Exploratory Spatial Analysis of American Adults’ Health Literacy at County-Level

Takashi Yamashita, Miami University
J. Scott Brown, Miami University

Health literacy (HL), a set of abilities to understand and use health-related information, has received increasing attention in disease prevention/management as well as in public health promotion because an estimated two-thirds of American adults have insufficient HL. Examining geographical distributions of limited HL is an indispensable first step for understanding specific target areas for future interventions. Using data from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy Survey, this study employs geographic information systems for visualizing data in a map format and for statistically identifying clusters of counties with high prevalence rates (i.e., hot-spots). The results show that the southeastern areas adjacent to the U.S.–Mexico border and southern Appalachians had hot-spots of limited HL. Considering U.S. census data including demographic characteristics (e.g., age, race) and socio-economic status (e.g., income, education), possible explanations of such distinctive distributions of limited HL and suggested future research agenda are discussed.

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Presented in Poster Session 5