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Making Europe health literate : Including older adults in sparsely populated Arctic areas

Making Europe health literate : Including older adults in sparsely populated Arctic areas


Title: Making Europe health literate : Including older adults in sparsely populated Arctic areas
Author: Gústafsdóttir, Sonja Stelly
Sigurðardóttir, Árún Kristín
Mårtensson, Lena
Árnadóttir, Sólveig Ása
Date: 2022-12
Language: English
Scope:
University/Institute: University of Akureyri
School: School of Health Sciences
Department: Faculty of Medicine
Series: BMC Public Health; 22(1)
ISSN: 1471-2458
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-12935-1
Subject: Heilbrigðisfræðsla; Dreifbýli; Aldraðir; Ageing; Arctic region; Environment; Health literacy; Residence characteristics; Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/3397

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Citation:

Gústafsdóttir , S S , Sigurðardóttir , Á K , Mårtensson , L & Árnadóttir , S Á 2022 , ' Making Europe health literate : Including older adults in sparsely populated Arctic areas ' , BMC Public Health , vol. 22 , no. 1 , 511 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-12935-1

Abstract:

 
Background Older people have been identified as having lower health literacy (HL) than the general population average. Living in sparsely populated Arctic regions involves unique health challenges that may influence HL. The research aim was to explore the level of HL, its problematic dimensions, and its association with the selection of contextual factors among older adults living in sparsely populated areas in Northern Iceland. Method This was a cross-sectional study based on a stratified random sample from the national register of one urban town and two rural areas. The study included 175 participants (57.9% participation rate) who were community-dwelling (40% rural) and aged 65–92 years (M 74.2 ± SD 6.3), 43% of whom were women. Data were collected in 2017-2018 via face-to-face interviews, which included the standardised European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire-short version (HLS-EU-Q16) with a score range from 0 to 16 (low-high HL). Results The level of HL ranged from 6–16 (M 13.25, SD ± 2.41) with 65% having sufficient HL (score 13–16), 31.3% problematic HL (score 9–12) and 3.7% inadequate HL (score 0–8). Most problematic dimension of HL was within the domains of disease prevention and health promotion related to information in the media. Univariate linear regression revealed that better HL was associated with more education (p=0.001), more resiliency (p=0.001), driving a car (p=0.006), good access to health care- (p=0.005) and medical service (p=0.027), younger age (p=0.005), adequate income (p=0.044) and less depression (p=0.006). Multivariable analysis showed that more education (p=0.014) and driving a car (p=0.017) were independent predictors of better HL. Conclusion Difficulties in HL concern information in the media. HL was strongly associated with education and driving a car however, not with urban-rural residency. Mobility and access should be considered for improving HL of older people.
 
Background: Older people have been identified as having lower health literacy (HL) than the general population average. Living in sparsely populated Arctic regions involves unique health challenges that may influence HL. The research aim was to explore the level of HL, its problematic dimensions, and its association with the selection of contextual factors among older adults living in sparsely populated areas in Northern Iceland. Method: This was a cross-sectional study based on a stratified random sample from the national register of one urban town and two rural areas. The study included 175 participants (57.9% participation rate) who were community-dwelling (40% rural) and aged 65–92 years (M 74.2 ± SD 6.3), 43% of whom were women. Data were collected in 2017-2018 via face-to-face interviews, which included the standardised European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire-short version (HLS-EU-Q16) with a score range from 0 to 16 (low-high HL). Results: The level of HL ranged from 6–16 (M 13.25, SD ± 2.41) with 65% having sufficient HL (score 13–16), 31.3% problematic HL (score 9–12) and 3.7% inadequate HL (score 0–8). Most problematic dimension of HL was within the domains of disease prevention and health promotion related to information in the media. Univariate linear regression revealed that better HL was associated with more education (p=0.001), more resiliency (p=0.001), driving a car (p=0.006), good access to health care- (p=0.005) and medical service (p=0.027), younger age (p=0.005), adequate income (p=0.044) and less depression (p=0.006). Multivariable analysis showed that more education (p=0.014) and driving a car (p=0.017) were independent predictors of better HL. Conclusion: Difficulties in HL concern information in the media. HL was strongly associated with education and driving a car however, not with urban-rural residency. Mobility and access should be considered for improving HL of older people.
 

Description:

Funding Information: This work was supported by the University of Akureyri, Iceland, under Grant R1803 and R2018, The Icelandic Regional Development Institute, under Grant 102022 and the Icelandic Council on Ageing, under Grant R2019. Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).

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