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Europeans with poor “health literacy” are heavy users of health services

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7741 (Published 29 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7741
  1. Rory Watson
  1. 1Brussels

Almost half of all Europeans have inadequate levels of “health literacy,” concludes a survey conducted by a consortium led by Maastricht University.

The European health literacy survey measured people’s ability to access, understand, analyse, and apply health information to enable them to make informed decisions so as to maintain their health, prevent diseases, and seek treatment when ill.

The research, which was conducted in eight countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, and Spain) found that overall 47% of the 8000 people surveyed had limited health literacy. The results varied considerably between countries, …

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