Online Program

Nutrition and health literacy: A systematic review to inform future research opportunities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Elena Carbone, DrPH, RD, LDN, Department of Nutrition, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
INTRODUCTION: The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the intersection of nutrition and health literacy, identify research gaps, and define opportunities for future research. METHODS: The search strategy included three main approaches: 1) literature searches using five electronic databases; 2) backward searching--reviewing references of articles selected for review; and 3) hand searching literature cited in reviews. Inclusion criteria were: English language, presentation of primary data, specified readability or health literacy measure, and specified nutrition-related outcome for adults. A list of articles in each database was generated; those that appeared relevant for full review were identified by two independent reviewers. The lists were compared and data were collapsed into one list of non-duplicative articles from all databases. Once the final list of relevant articles was assembled for full review, a data matrix was developed to facilitate the review process. RESULTS: A total of 892 citations were initially identified. The search was subsequently updated to include 63 additional citations through 2012, for a total of 955. After eliminating those that did not meet the inclusion criteria, the final sample yielded 38 studies, which fell into three broad categories: readability assessments (n=16); individual literacy skills assessments (n=16); and measurement development (n=6). DISCUSSION: This systematic review revealed the need for: 1) more comprehensive assessment approaches; 2) more robust experimental studies; 3) exploring the moderating and mediating roles of an individual's health literacy status on nutrition outcomes; and 4) examining long-term effects of health literacy interventions on nutrition outcomes.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Communication and informatics
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the fields of health and nutrition literacy. Define gaps in health and nutrition literacy research. Identify specific opportunities for future health and nutrition literacy research.

Keyword(s): Literacy, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the lead author on this work. I have served PI or Co-PI on numerous grants focusing on health promotion/disease prevention, specifically targeted to nutrition education, health communications and literacy.
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.