154050 Addressing the challenges of low health literacy: Creating easy-to-read public health education materials

Monday, November 5, 2007: 2:45 PM

Lilliam Acosta-Sanchez, MPH , Education and Health Promotion, March of Dimes, White Plains, NY
Karen Kroder , Education and Health Promotion, March of Dimes, White Plains, NY
Wendy Mettger, MA , Mettger Communications, Takoma Park, MD
Aracely Rosales, BS , Rosales Communication, Plain Language and Culture, Philadelphia, PA
Low health literacy is a growing problem in the United States. Nearly half of all American adults have difficulty understanding and using health information. One solution to the health literacy challenge is development of easy-to-read print materials. The March of Dimes is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. To most effectively reach the 62 million women of childbearing age in the United States, the March of Dimes is producing field-tested easy-to-read print materials written at a 5th- to 7th-grade reading level. Because Hispanics are the largest and fastest growing racial/ethnic minority group in the United States—almost 1 in 4 live births in the United States is to Hispanic women—these materials are written in both English and Spanish. This presentation will address how the March of Dimes developed its easy-to-read portfolio, including flyers on preconception health and preterm labor, booklets on prematurity risk reduction and fertility treatment, and a bilingual magazine that features a variety of healthy pregnancy and newborn care messages. The presentation will describe the Foundation's overall commitment to health literacy, including a development strategy for easy-to-read materials consisting of copy, design, translation and field testing; the adaptation of existing health messages into culturally relevant and appealing easy-to read formats; and plans for future easy-to-read materials.

Learning Objectives:
1. Recognize the need for easy-to-read education materials for women of chilbearing age in English and Spanish. 2. Identify components of the easy-to-read development process. 3. Describe copy and design variables to consider when developing bilingual health education materials.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Public Health Education and Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.