October is Health Literacy Month! You may be asking yourself, what is health literacy? According to the Health Resources and Services Administration health literacy is defined as: the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions.
Low health literacy is more prevalent among:
- Older adults
- Minority populations
- Those who have low socioeconomic status
- Medically underserved people
One of the greatest ways to improve health literacy is through health education, the goal of which is to provide individuals with the tools to gain knowledge and skills needed to lead a healthy lifestyle. AdvoCare® strives to promote health literacy by providing resources to help access consistent, accurate and data-backed information about the health and wellness space.
Below are checks and balances to help improve your health literacy:
- Choose who/what influences your lifestyle choices. You are in control of what you digest physically AND mentally. Take an assessment of what influences your lifestyle choices. Did you watch a commercial about the newest spicy fried chicken sandwich at a fast food restaurant and find yourself sitting in your car waiting to make your order? Did one of your closest friends tell you about their healthy lifestyle change and now you’re on board to try it as well after seeing their positive results? Ultimately, take an account of who and what is influencing your lifestyle choices and determine if they are beneficial to your long-term health goals.
- Assess your internal dialogue. What type of decisions are you making? Did your doctor tell you that you are at high risk for hypertension? Did you take the words to heart (pun intended) and decide to alter your diet to incorporate less salt? Or did you tell yourself “I feel fine- a little salt won’t hurt anything” and choose a behavior that was counterproductive to your healthy lifestyle?
- Set goals. Goals are a great way to help increase accountability. When you set a goal, you help build new behaviors and create healthy ways to stay focused. Set small attainable goals to help maintain momentum. Achieving goals helps to give a sense of accomplishment and promote self-mastery. Remember, you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and you can’t get better at something you never try. For more tips on goal setting and weight management, check out this video blog with Scientific and Medical Advisory Board member, Dr. Leanne Redman.
- Utilize tools and resources that help to improve your overall health.
- 5 Pillars of Wellness
- Myplate.gov– support for learning how to pack your plate with healthy options.
- CDC.gov– healthy eating for a healthy weight.
- Know your numbers– understand your numbers in regard to a healthy blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol and body weight.
How will you improve your health literacy in October?
Lauren Horton, PhD.
Dr. Lauren Horton is a senior manager in Research and Development at AdvoCare. She has used her expertise to successfully develop protocols, clinical designs and test strategies to help AdvoCare achieve research and product development goals.
Before joining AdvoCare International, she was a clinical researcher at a leading clinical research organization. Dr. Horton loves to help improve the quality of life of those around her. She has helped men and women from all over the country discover how small steps each day can lead to huge strides towards living a healthier lifestyle.
Dr. Horton holds a BS in biology from Rust College and a PhD in biomedical science from Morehouse School of Medicine and completed her post-doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania.