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Health Literacy: About

Health Literacy

What is Health Literacy?

Health literacy refers to how well a person can get the health information and services that they need, and how well they understand them. It is also about using them to make good health decisions. It involves differences that people have in areas such as

  • Access to information that they can understand
  • Skills, such as finding that information, communicating with health care providers, living a healthy lifestyle, and managing a disease
  • Knowledge of medical words, and of how their health care system works
  • Abilities, such as physical or mental limitations
  • Personal factors, such as age, education, language abilities, and culture

More than 90 million adults in the United States have low health literacy. It affects their ability to make health decisions. This can harm their health. They may have trouble managing chronic diseases, and leading a healthy lifestyle. They may go to the hospital more often, and have poorer health overall. Continue reading from MedlinePlus

Recommended Websites - Comprises more than 28 million citations of biomedical literature from Medline, life science journals, and online books. - More than 3,300 physicians, scientists, and researchers share their expertise in a consumer - friendly format.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention - As the nation's health protection agency, CDC saves lives and protects people from health, safety, and security threats. - Excellent resource on women's health from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. - The most visited site for information about health, behaviour, and development from before birth through teen years. - A public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging, connecting you to services for older adults.

National Institute on Aging - Focuses on the health issues of older adults and their caregivers. - This award-winning site is maintained by oncology professionals who understand the needs of patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals.

National Cancer Institute - Accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive cancer information from the U.S. government's principal agency for cancer research.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Consumers - Timely, reliable health and safety information about food, drugs, medical devices, vaccines, pet food, pet medicine and more. 

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health - A comprehensive, user-friendly site on complementary health from the National Institutes of Health.

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) - A patient advocacy organization dedicated to individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

AMA DoctorFinder - Comprehensive information on every licensed physician in the United States. (Continue reading from The Ridgefield Library)

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Local Medical Libraries

UConn Health, Lyman Maynard Stowe Library
Wendy Urciuoli
Patient and Family Resource Librarian
Phone: (860) 678-4055

Greenwich Hospital Medical Library
Carolyn English
Consumer Health Librarian
Phone: (203) 863-3286

Our Databases

MedlinePlus brings you information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language you can understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information.