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Nearly half of adults in England don’t understand health information material, study indicates

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e8364 (Published 07 December 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e8364
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

Nearly half of adults in England are unable to understand standard health information material—such as instructions on how to calculate the dosage of paracetamol for a child—well enough to act on it, indicate results from a study reported this week.

Researchers extrapolated results for levels of literacy and numeracy collected in interviews with more than 6000 people aged 16-65 years to assess understanding of 64 items of information on health and safety. The data came from a nationally representative sample taking part in the Skills for Life survey,1 conducted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and were applied …

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