Report cites Americans' lack of health literacy'

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Apr 9, 2004.

  1. wdlove macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    Health risk posed, specialists say

    By Lauran Neergaard, Associated Press, 4/9/2004

    WASHINGTON -- Nearly half of American adults face higher risks of health problems because of trouble understanding medical terms and directions, specialists said yesterday in a report that calls for a national effort to improve health literacy.

    Comprehending medicine's arcane jargon can be difficult for even the most educated of laypeople. It's almost impossible for millions who can't read well, aren't fluent in English, or have vision or cognitive problems caused by aging.

    Now the prestigious Institute of Medicine has put a number on just how many people have "limited health literacy" -- a surprising 90 million adults.
  2. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    it's not like it's some learning disability, a lot of people are just too stupid to pay attention to medical advice, or to find more information on a topic. I'm guilty of it to a point, in that I'm a smoker. But a lot of it is just absurd-- kids in high school regularly pass the myth that douching with coca-cola will avoid unwanted pregnancy (and sometimes STD). A lot of it has to do with the general public's refusal to talk about certain issues, particularly women's health. Males know almost nothing about menopause, for the most part, yet it's something 51% of people face... it's the stigma that some issues can't be discussed. AIDS discussion means you're gay, mental disorders means you're too politically-correct, and periods are something to make fun of. Ignorance abounds.

  3. wdlove thread starter macrumors P6


    Oct 20, 2002
    I think that it is even a more basic problem than you describe. The problem has to do with our education system. Learning to read and write. So much common knowledge has been lost.
  4. Sparky's macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2004
    Like most I too was not so much illiterate but had the "I don't care" attitude. That was until a few years ago when after an annual physical (you get those when you get older) I was 40 lbs overweight had a cholesterol of 315, and bp of 140/90. I had quit smoking many years earlier but decided to do something about my state of affairs. I went on a self imposed diet and exercise program and in 6 months came down almost 30 lbs and lowered my Cholesterol to 240. The unfortunate thing was that it was already to late, I was given a colonoscopy and was found to have a cancerous polyp. SO after losing 6" of my colon and going through intense Chemotherapy I came out clean in 6 months, all well and good, that was 2 years ago. Today I am at home recovering from emergency surgery to remove my gallbladder. I again am trying to regain control but at 52 now I think its a little to late. I am now very conscious of what I eat and how active I am, and hope to be around for a while longer.

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