1 The researchers found that some 12 percent or 23 million of U.S. adults are estimated to have skills in the lowest level (Level 1) on the HALS, while an additional 7 percent or 13.4 million are not able to perform even simple health literacy tasks with a high degree of proficiency (below Level 1). Those performing below Level 1 are about evenly divided between U.S.-born and foreign-born adults. HALS is a 0 to 500 scale that reflects a progression of health-related literacy skills from Level (low) 1 to Level 5(high),
Information source: Center for Global Assessment Policy Information Center Research and Development Educational Testing Service.
2 Many individuals receiving care from the U.S health-care system have limited English proficiency. The 2000 census indicates that the foreign-born population in the United States is 31 million. More than 300 different languages are spoken in the United States, and 47 million citizens and non-citizens speak a language other than English at home. English is not the primary language spoken in the homes of 41 percent of Hispanics, 34 percent of Koreans, 29 percent of Vietnamese, and 20 percent of Chinese.
Information source: Lynn Nielsen-Bohlman, Health literacy: a prescription to end confusion. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2005