Assessing the Prevalence and Association of Acculturation and Health Literacy Levels in Spanish-Speaking Hispanic Patients at Midwestern Community Health Centers in the USA

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    • Publication Information:
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019.
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    • Abstract:
      Predictions from the US census indicate that by 2060 one of every three individuals living in the nation will be of Hispanic origin. Hispanics experience health disparities manifested with higher rates of chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes in contrast with other US population groups. Health literacy and acculturation have been well identified as key contributors for this issue. However, very few studies have examined the association between health literacy and levels of acculturation in Spanish-speaking Hispanics living in rural and urban areas of the USA. To assess the prevalence and association of acculturation with low levels of health literacy and demographic variables in Spanish-speaking Hispanics in the US Midwest. We measured levels of acculturation in Spanish-speaking adult Hispanics (N = 401) accessing community health centers in rural and urban Nebraska. We used a survey that included the Bidimensional Acculturation Scale for Hispanics/Linguistic Proficiency Subscale (BAS/LP) and the Short Assessment of Health Literacy in Spanish (SAHL-S). We observed similar acculturation levels with rural and urban status participants. A total of 85% of the total participants had low levels of acculturation to US culture. Of the 15% of the participants who showed themselves to be bicultural, 81% reported adequate levels of health literacy in Spanish. Our findings are consistent with previous studies that report the associations between acculturation and health literacy levels are significant. This study underscores the importance of considering the cultural aspects of the Hispanic community for the development of health literacy interventions and education programs.
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