Health Literacy

Health Literacy in women

Source: UNESCO. Global Education Monitoring Report. Paris, France; 2016.

There has been numerous studies validating the correlation between low health literacy in women and poor health outcomes3-5. A women’s level of health literacy has the potential of impacting the health outcome of her entire family1,2,4.

In a study conducted in Ethiopia, women’s educational status was significantly associated with experience of infant death, even after controlling for potential confounding factors such as age, residential area and husband’s educational status. A mother who completed high school had 31% lower risk of experiencing infant death compared to a mother with no education1.

A U.S. cross-sectional study found that over 50% of caregivers presenting with their children to the ED have low health literacy. Low health literacy parents of children without chronic illness had 3x greater odds of presenting to ED with a non-urgent condition in comparison to those with adequate health literacy2.

Source: UNESCO. Global Education Monitoring Report. Paris, France; 2016.


1. Alemayehu Y, Theall K, Lemma W, Hajito K, Tushune K. The Role of Empowerment in the Association between a Woman’s Educational Status and Infant Mortality in Ethiopia: Secondary Analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys. Ethiop J Health Sci. 2015;25(4):353. doi:10.4314/ejhs.v25i4.9.

2. Morrison AK, Schapira MM, Gorelick MH, Hoffmann RG, Brousseau DC. Low Caregiver Health Literacy Is Associated With Higher Pediatric Emergency Department Use and Nonurgent Visits. Acad Pediatr. 2014;14(3):309-314. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2014.01.004.

3. Kilfoyle K, Vitko M, O’Conor R, Bailey S. Health Literacy and Women’s Reproductive Health: A Systematic Review. J Womens Health. 2016;25(12):1237-1255. doi:10.1089/jwh.2016.5810

4. DeWalt D, Berkman N, Sheridan S, Lohr K, Pignone M. Literacy and health outcomes. J Gen Intern Med. 2004;19(12):1228-1239. doi:10.1111/j.1525-1497.2004.40153.x

5. Corrarino J. Health Literacy and Women’s Health: Challenges and Opportunities. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2013;58(3):257-264. doi:10.1111/jmwh.12018