246393 En Familia: An intergenerational approach to improving health literacy among and delivering health education to Latino families

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:00 PM

Kristen D. Holtz, PhD , KDH Research and Communication Inc, Atlanta, GA
Eric C. Twombly, PhD , KDH Research and Communication Inc, Atlanta, GA
Louise C. Palmer, MA , KDH Research & Communication, KDH Research & Communication, Atlanta, GA
This paper presents the findings from an evaluation of En Familia, an intergenerational health literacy and health education program for Latino families. The reasons for Latino health disparities are manifold, and often compounded by the complexity of navigating the US health system and understanding health information. En Familia aims to help families overcome these barriers by expanding traditional health education programming to include training in core healthy literacy. To do so, En Familia draws on the Latino concept of familism and engages the teens, parents, and grandparents to support each other in making healthy lifestyle choices. In this paper, we explore three research questions that focus on the effectiveness of En Familia. They include: To what extent is En Familia effective in changing participants' knowledge about the health issues it covers? To what extent do En Familia participants have more positive attitudes about health related behaviors? To what extent does En Familia improve health literacy and intentions to perform health-related behaviors among participants? We collected primary quantitative data from 34 families in El Paso, Texas. We used a pretest/post-test quasi-experimental design to explore the statistical relationship between exposure to En Familia and dependent variables of its programmatic effectiveness. Findings suggest En Familia increases knowledge, positive attitudes towards healthy behaviors, and health literacy skills. The study findings more broadly indicate that traditional Latino health education programming can be enhanced by a health literacy component. Further, the paper suggests an intergenerational format utilizes familial social support to change attitudes on health topics.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the most relevant health education topics and health literacy skills for low-income Mexican American families. 2. Discuss the benefits of an intergenerational approach to health programming for Latino families. 3. Identify characteristics of an effective intergenerational health education and health literacy program.

Keywords: Health Literacy, Latino Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years of experience in public health and public policy research, evaluation, and program development
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.