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An Assessment of Health Literacy Rates in a Sample of Active-Duty Military Personnel at a Major Medical Center

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Research in the national population has revealed a link between limited health literacy and disparities in health care utilization and resulting health status. Limited health literacy has also been found at higher rates among individuals who are non-whites, have lower education levels andor income, and may differ by gender. In the military health system MHS,gender, race, educational level and income should not impact the availability of health services as all active-duty personnel have universal access to health care. Yet disparities continue to exist in utilization of preventive services and achievement of goals related to improved health status and health outcomes. Limited health literacy may be contributing to these disparities in active duty military personnel with universal access to health care, services, and information. To date, there are no published research studies assessing health literacy in the active-duty military population. Before studies can be conducted to explore the relationship between limited health literacy and health statusoutcomes in active duty personnel, research is needed to determine health literacy rates in active duty personnel and the comparability of these rates to rates in the national population. Objective. The purpose of this study was to determine health literacy rates in active duty military personnel receiving health care and services within a culture of universal access, and to compare the health literacy rates of the national population to those of the active duty military.

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