Americans Fail at Health Literacy

36% of adults have only a basic or below basic health literacy skills. This is troubling. Extremely troubling! How can we fix these deficits? Is it too late for these adults?

Let’s look at what this 36% of adults can do based on their health literacy levels first. They can possibly read a patient brochure but may possibly have trouble understanding health consent forms or prescription drug labels. Patient brochures can sometimes be easy to read but often it’s a lot of words for the average person to read. You know, too many words and sometimes the brochures get ignored and thrown out anyway. As for prescription drug labels, why do they have to name medications with such hard names to pronounce? Scientists showing their hubris? Elitism? Who knows. Moving on, only 12% of adults are considered to have a high level of health literacy, meaning they can navigate a complex health system, engage in medical discussions, and manage their own health and well-being. Only 12% is a shame. I do truly feel this goes back to the American education system and I am not blaming teachers, but I am blaming a completely broken system. So, the main question is, how do we fix this?

Wouldn’t it be great if we can teach kids from a young age, health literacy so they could be more well-rounded adults? Wouldn’t it be wonderful for children to learn everything their brains can soak up and become better prepared when they enter preadolescence, adolescence, and eventually adulthood?

This is where the children’s book series called Nurse Florence® comes in. This series is what you can call creative non-fiction. I use the term creative non-fiction for this reason; the stories and the characters are all fake, but the science inside each book is real. The science is current and can help children everywhere learn about medical science and prepare them to take jobs in the STEM fields and even become doctors if they so choose. If we start educating children early about medical science, it can significantly impact their lives in a positive way in the future!

The Nurse Florence® children’s book series is aimed at children in grades 2nd through 7th. However, if you are an adult, it’s never too late to pick up one of these books and learn what you can from it. The more informed you are about health literacy, the more you can make positive decisions around your overall health.

Pick up a book at one of the following sites today!



Barnes & Noble:

EM Payton holds a BA in art and an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in Nevada.

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EM Payton

EM Payton holds a BA in art and an MFA in Creative Writing. She lives in Nevada.