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Low literacy in the health field is linked with “increased hospitalizations, greater emergency department use, lower use of mammography, lower receipt of influenza vaccine and other problems,” according to a March study from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and Nation’s Health July 2011.

Researchers found low health literacy was also linked to poorer ability to take medications appropriately, inability to interpret labels and health messages and, for the elderly, poorer overall health and higher death rates.

The full report, “Health Literacy Interventions and Outcomes: An Updated Systematic Review,” is available at www.ahrq.gov.

This study seems to be common sense, but it is still important to be informed and educated about our bodies and our health.  Dr. Cohen is a great source of health information.  Talk with him at his downtown San Francisco office about your health questions.