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Health and numeracy: the role of numeracy skills in health satisfaction and health-related behaviour

  • Lisanne HeilmannEmail author
Original Article

Abstract

Health-related decisions make use of numeracy skills, for example counting medication dosages, extracting health-related information from food packaging or understanding statistical data. Even though the concept of health literacy is often used to explain health disparities (Freedman et al., in American Journal of Preventive Medicine 36:446–451, 2009), discourses that differentiate between health literacy and health numeracy are emerging. Golbeck et al. (American Journal of Preventive Medicine 29:375–376, 2005) defined health numeracy as “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to access, process, interpret, communicate, and act on numerical, quantitative, graphical, biostatistical, and probabilistic health information needed to make effective health decisions” (p. 375). To determine which numeracy skills impact health and health practices, the present study examines the 2015 German extension of the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey, which collected data on numeracy skills and numeracy practices and on the perception of health and health practices (as in the socio-economic panel, SOEP). Further, it indicates which numeracy practices (or the lack of these) might play a part in poor health and in (health) vulnerability in Germany.

Keywords

Health Health numeracy PIAAC Vulnerability Numeracy practices 

Notes

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Copyright information

© FIZ Karlsruhe 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HamburgHamburgGermany

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