208737 Functional health literacy and diabetes knowledge in a cohort of immigrant Latinos accessing care at an urban community clinic

Monday, November 9, 2009

Magda Shaheen, MD, PhD, MPH , Ophthalmology, Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
Jose Calderon, MD , College of Pharmacy, Nova Southestern University, Ft Lauderdale, FL
Martha Navarro Navaro , Charles Drew University, Los Angeles, CA
James Smith, MD , Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
Richard Baker, MD , Ophthalmology, Charles Drew University of Medicine & Science, Lynwood, CA
Purpose: Immigrant Latinos are a highly mobile population known to lack regular sources of healthcare, have limited educational attainment and to face literacy barriers. Therefore, they are less likely to benefit from written health information about diabetes.

Method: We assessed functional health literacy using the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (STOFHLA) and diabetes knowledge, calculated as the proportion of knowledge items out of 30 answered correctly using the Diabetes Health Literacy Survey in a cross-sectional sample of 241 immigrant Latino diabetics without formal diabetes education accessing care at an urban community clinic. Descriptive, non-parametric and logistic regression analysis was applied as needed.

Results: STOFHLA scores revealed that 58% had inadequate functional health literacy which did not vary with demographic characteristics. The mean score for diabetes knowledge was 50%+/- 8.7% and varied significantly by income (p<0.05). Diabetes knowledge was positively correlated with STOFHLA score (p<0.05). Eighty-three percent of participants had family history of diabetes, 79% were born in Mexico, 79% reported fair/poor health status, 75% had income <$0,000, and 69% were uninsured.

Conclusion: National and international studies have demonstrated that improving health literacy (an understanding of disease, its consequences and its care) is associated with better health outcomes and improved perceived health status. As the prevalence of diabetes increases particularly for Latinos and other vulnerable populations with limited and/or diminishing literacy skills from chronic disease and aging policy mandating the use of non-written venues and public health campaigns using multi-media to promote diabetes health literacy are needed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the functional health literacy status of the immigrant Latinos accessing care at an urban community clinic 2. Learn about the level of diabetes knowledge of the immigrant Latino population who are receiving care at the urban community clinic 3. Assess the relationship between the functional health literacy status and the diabetes knowledge in the immigrant Latino population accessing care at an urban community clinic

Keywords: Health Literacy, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I worked on the data management, data analysis, and jointly wrote the abstract
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.

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