Background: Health literacy (HL) is a fundamental ability to successfully deal with health and illness issues. This study aimed to assess HL among undergraduates from healthcare and non-healthcare degree courses of two Italian universities and the association between their HL, lifestyles, and BMI assumed as health outcome. Methods: The Health Literacy Assessment Tool (HLAT-8) and the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) were used to assess health literacy dimensions. Demographic and anthropometric data, adherence to Mediterranean diet (MD), physical activity levels, and smoking habits were assessed in the enrolled sample to highlight possible associations. Results: A total sample of 806 undergraduates (46% males, mean age 21.01 ± 1.78 years) was recruited. Higher HL scores were found among healthcare rather than non-healthcare students (28.7 ± 4.5 vs. 26.7 ± 4.2 for HLAT-8 and 4.9 ± 1.5 vs. 3.9 ± 1.8 for NVS, p < 0.01). However, healthcare undergraduates were more likely to report unhealthy behaviors. Body Mass Index (BMI) was associated with literacy and numeracy skills only in non-healthcare undergraduates. Significant associations were found between HL scores and adherence to MD in both groups. In the regression analysis, educational field and MD were shown to be predictors of HL scores. Conclusions: Attending a healthcare related degree course was associated with higher HL scores but not with healthy behaviors. This issue should be addressed considering the role that healthcare professionals may have in educating patients towards a healthy lifestyle. Adherence to MD seems to be related to higher HL scores.

Are health literacy and lifestyle of undergraduates related to the educational field? An italian survey

Galle F.
;
Calella P.;Liguori G.;Valerio G.
2020

Abstract

Background: Health literacy (HL) is a fundamental ability to successfully deal with health and illness issues. This study aimed to assess HL among undergraduates from healthcare and non-healthcare degree courses of two Italian universities and the association between their HL, lifestyles, and BMI assumed as health outcome. Methods: The Health Literacy Assessment Tool (HLAT-8) and the Newest Vital Sign (NVS) were used to assess health literacy dimensions. Demographic and anthropometric data, adherence to Mediterranean diet (MD), physical activity levels, and smoking habits were assessed in the enrolled sample to highlight possible associations. Results: A total sample of 806 undergraduates (46% males, mean age 21.01 ± 1.78 years) was recruited. Higher HL scores were found among healthcare rather than non-healthcare students (28.7 ± 4.5 vs. 26.7 ± 4.2 for HLAT-8 and 4.9 ± 1.5 vs. 3.9 ± 1.8 for NVS, p < 0.01). However, healthcare undergraduates were more likely to report unhealthy behaviors. Body Mass Index (BMI) was associated with literacy and numeracy skills only in non-healthcare undergraduates. Significant associations were found between HL scores and adherence to MD in both groups. In the regression analysis, educational field and MD were shown to be predictors of HL scores. Conclusions: Attending a healthcare related degree course was associated with higher HL scores but not with healthy behaviors. This issue should be addressed considering the role that healthcare professionals may have in educating patients towards a healthy lifestyle. Adherence to MD seems to be related to higher HL scores.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11367/87090
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