Relationship of health literacy with diet and physical activity of obese patients attending general practice in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas

Nighat Faruqi, Catherine Spooner, Oshana Hermiz, Nigel Stocks, Mark Harris
Publication type: 
Conference presentation
Stream 2 Disadvantaged populations
Primary Health Care Research Conference, Canberra, June 2016

This poster is available here.

Context and Aims: Socioeconomically disadvantaged adults are more likely to be obese and have low health literacy (HL). The Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLQ) measures HL across nine scales. Our aims were to assess the HL of obese patients attending general practice using the HLQ and evaluate the relationship of HL with diet and physical activity (PA).

Methods: Twenty practices, 10 each in Sydney and Adelaide, were enrolled from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas to participate in a randomised clinical trial. Patients aged 40–70 years with a BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2 and fulfilling other eligibility criteria were recruited. At the baseline telephone interview, patients’ diet, PA and HL were assessed. Scores were calculated based on the weekly frequency of doing vigorous and/or moderate PA and daily consumption of fruit and vegetables. HL scores were categorised as high or low for each scale.

Findings: Of the 179 eligible patients, interviews were completed with 135 patients (females=66%; mean age=56 years). A majority of the patients had a high mean score for each HLQ scale, nevertheless there were significant positive associations between PA and HL scores in two HLQ scales and between diet and HL scores in three HLQ scales.

Innovative contribution to policy, practice and/or research: The association between HL and diet and PA reinforce the need for primary healthcare professionals to identify patient HL levels and target interventions accordingly.