Health  Vol.7 No.6 , June 2015
Age- and Sex-Specific Impact of Health Literacy on Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics among Japanese Residents in a Rural Community
ABSTRACT
The study aimed to examine age- and sex-specific associations between health literacy (HL) and healthy life characteristics. The cross-sectional study was conducted to examine a total 1348 Japanese participants (613 male and 735 female) who took the health check-up program in April 2013, at Tsumagoi Village, Japan. Information was collected by self-administered questionnaire on three communicative and two critical HL items, and healthy life characteristics listed in Bres-low’s seven health practices. In multivariate logistic analysis, high HL (≥18) was significantly asso-ciated with healthy life characteristics in both non-elderly (<65 years old) and elderly (≥65 years old) [Odds ratio (OR) = 1.40, 95% Confidence interval (CI) = 1.13 - 1.75 for non-elderly, OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.02 - 1.76 for elderly], as well as female participants (OR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.06 - 1.94), while the significance was borderline in male participants (OR = 1.34, 95% CI = 0.96 - 1.88). Among 5 HL items, the ability to extract health-related information was significantly associated with healthy life characteristics (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.11 - 2.07 for non-elderly, OR = 1.55, 95% CI = 1.04 - 2.30 for elderly, OR = 1.95, 95% CI = 1.28 - 2.97 for female participants. HDL-C concentration in the high HL group was significantly higher than that in the low HL group. Among healthy life characteristics, proportions of smoking behavior (non-smoker), exercise frequency (twice or more per week), and sleep duration (7 - 8 hours) were significantly higher in the high HL group than in the low HL group. The present study revealed a positive association between HL and healthy life characteristics, which suggests that people are likely to engage in health-promoting behaviours based on access and ability to understand medical information for both age groups and female participants. Significant findings among female participants may be emphasized since it’s important from the entire family's perspective as women are the caretakers of the family. These findings may indicate the importance of comprehensive assessment, including HL, for health promotion in the community.

Cite this paper
Yokokawa, H. , Yuasa, M. , Sanada, H. , Hisaoka, T. , Fukuda, H. (2015) Age- and Sex-Specific Impact of Health Literacy on Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics among Japanese Residents in a Rural Community. Health, 7, 679-688. doi: 10.4236/health.2015.76081.
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