ASHARANI P.V.1, LAU J. H.1, ROYSTONN K1, FIONA DEVI S. K.1, SUM C. F.2, LEE E.S.3, CHONG S. A.1, SUBRAMANIAM, M.1
Institute of Mental Health1, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital2, National Healthcare Group HQ3
Health literacy (HL) encompasses essential skills that help an individual to function well in a healthcare context. This study aims to understand the functional HL (basic skills to comprehend and use health related information) in Singapore’s general population and its relationship with diabetes knowledge.
This cross-sectional survey recruited participants (N=2895) through disproportionate stratified sampling. The Basic Health Literacy Screen and other questionnaires were administered through face to face interviews, in either one of the four national languages (English, Chinese, Malay or Tamil). Logistic regression was used to study the relationship between HL and diabetes knowledge.
The majority (80.5%) had adequate functional HL and diabetes knowledge (diabetes recognition, general awareness regarding diabetes, knowledge related to insulin, likely causes and complications of diabetes). While diabetes recognition was high (83.5%), knowledge regarding insulin and likely causes of diabetes can be further improved. A higher incidence of chronic conditions (p<0.001) was observed in those with inadequate HL compared to those with adequate HL in bivariate analysis. Older age, Chinese ethnicity, employment (employed), lower education (secondary or below), and marital status (married) were significantly associated with inadequate HL. Functional HL was not associated with diabetes knowledge in any of the domains assessed.
Adequate functional HL and diabetes knowledge was observed among the participants, nevertheless, they were not associated with each other. HL interventions should focus on the disadvantaged sociodemographic groups for improving their HL. Future studies should look at the relationship between intermediate and critical HL with disease knowledge.