Competing interests: The authors declare they have no competing interests.
Community understanding of the preventability of major health conditions as a measure of health literacy
Article first published online: 6 FEB 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Australian Journal of Rural Health © National Rural Health Alliance Inc.
Australian Journal of Rural Health
Volume 21, Issue 1, pages 35–40, February 2013
How to Cite
Moore, K., Smith, B. J. and Reilly, K. (2013), Community understanding of the preventability of major health conditions as a measure of health literacy. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 21: 35–40. doi: 10.1111/ajr.12005
- Issue published online: 6 FEB 2013
- Article first published online: 6 FEB 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 24 JUL 2012
- Bendigo Community Health Services
- health literacy;
- health promotion;
- preventable disease;
To examine health literacy in a rural community by measuring the understanding of the preventable nature of six major health conditions.
Cross-sectional population survey.
New housing areas of Strathfieldsaye, Victoria.
A total of 197 adults aged 18 years or older.
Main outcome measures
Perceived preventability of skin cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, high blood pressure, heart attack and diabetes.
Skin cancer was the only condition which most people perceived as being all or mostly preventable (50.3%). Lung cancer was perceived to be all or mostly preventable by 35.5% of respondents, high blood pressure by 34.0%, cervical cancer by 27.4%, diabetes by 25.4% and heart attack by only 14.7%.
This study shows that there is a lack of understanding of the preventability of these health conditions. Efforts need to be directed towards improving the public's knowledge of disease prevention and to ensure that health promotion programs reach populations with the most need.