Online Program

Determinants of low health literacy among Asian American and Pacific Islanders

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Monideepa Becerra, DrPH, MPH, CHES, Health Science and Human Ecology, California State University, San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA
Benjamin Joseph Becerra, DrPH, MBA, MPH, MS, School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Background: The Affordable Care Act promotes the incorporation of health literacy as an integral part of improving population health. Yet, few studies exist on determinants of low health literacy for the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islanders. The purpose of this exploratory study was to address such a gap in the literature using a population based survey.

Methods: Low health literacy was defined as reporting either prescription bottle or written information from the doctor as being “somewhat difficult” or “very difficult” to understand, or reporting having a hard time understanding their doctor. Survey weighted univariate and multivariable regression analyses were conducted.

Results: A total of 4,045 participants were included in the study, representing 3,156,711 Asian American and Pacific Islander adults in California. Low health literacy was associated with living below the poverty level (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.45), not being a college graduate (AOR = 1.40), having limited English language proficiency (AOR = 3.46), and being foreign born (AOR = 2.21). Filipino (AOR = 0.32), South Asian (AOR = 0.40), and Korean (AOR = 0.60) subgroups were also less likely to report low health literacy as compared to Chinese. The c-statistic of the model, that measures the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, was noted to be 0.766, indicating a reasonably strong goodness of fit.

Conclusion: Results of this study highlight the current burden of low health literacy among Asian American and Pacific Islander population and associated factors. Effective healthcare policies to improve health literacy as part of primary care is needed.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify factors associated with low health literacy among Asian American and Pacific Islanders. Discuss differences in health literacy across subgroups of the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander population.

Keyword(s): Health Literacy, Asian and Pacific Islanders

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a health disparities researcher and Assistant Professor with research emphasis on addressing minority health. I have published in several peer-reviewed journals with studies focusing on the diversity in health outcomes among Asian Americans and addressing the role of immigration on minority health.
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.