Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

The Importance of Health Literacy

  • Health literacy is more than just being able to read health information and complete medical forms
  • Health literacy involves the integration of a wide variety of individual skills, health-care professional communication skills, health-care practices and system processes 
  • Data from the International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey estimated that limited health literacy skills affect 55% of Canadian adults over 16 years of age and 88% of seniors 
  • Segments of the population that are more vulnerable to the risks associated with low health literacy include seniors, immigrants and the unemployed
  • There are higher average health literacy scores among adults who reported excellent health, compared to those who reported poor or fair health status 
Facilitating Client Centred Learning
Background Information