187131 High-tech and low-Literacy: Appropriate technology for conveying a wellness intervention among Latina women

Monday, October 27, 2008

Claire Loe, MPH , Community Health Education Concepts, Austin, TX
Carmen L. Retzlaff, MPH, CHES , Community Health Education Concepts, Austin, TX
Kathryn M. Anderson, MA , Community Health Education Concepts, Austin, TX
Cynthia L. Phelps, PhD , School of Health Information Sciences, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX

The internet is under-used for improving the health of populations with inadequate health literacy and disparate risk for obesity and overweight. Characteristics of Hispanic households suggest they need accurate and credible health information designed for populations with low health literacy.


Four focus groups were conducted to identify technologies for delivery of a wellness intervention for Latina women in Austin, Texas.


Groups were conducted with 18-30 year old Hispanic women receiving services at two agencies: a WIC office and English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) classes. Questions focused on interest in technologies and health information.

Focus groups were analyzed on themes of technology use and health information seeking. Notes and audio recordings were consulted for analysis.


Thirty women participated in the ESL groups: 13 in English and 17 in Spanish. Ten people participated in groups at a WIC office in English.

About a third of participants had used the internet; half of those used it at home and had e-mail. Most were interested in health information and mentioned the internet or TV as good sources of information. Most were eager to learn how to use computers to get information.

Barriers to attending a class were time, transportation and childcare. Barriers to internet access were money and transportation.


Limited experience with technology does not mean lack of interest in internet health information or computer training. Young Latina women seem a promising audience for health information on the internet and could be positive change agents for healthier lifestyles.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify barriers to web-based health information for populations with low health literacy. 2. Consider solutions to make internet health interventions more accessible to new immigrant populations. 3. Describe motivating factors of young Latina women in seeking health information on the internet.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I facilitated and analyzed the focus groups.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.