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Czechs’ health literacy is bad, survey of eight EU nations shows

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Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – The Czech Republic has ended seventh out of eight EU countries surveyed for health literacy, and it did not even reach the average levels, according to the first such poll held in the country, the National Institute of Public Health (SZU) writes on its web page Monday.

Health literacy allows people to make appropriate health decisions.

“The overall health literacy is lower in comparison with the average of eight EU countries, it lags behind the countries that are at the top in this respect, that is the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Poland,” the SZU wrote.

The survey was conducted on minimally 1000 people over 15 in each of the eight countries. In the Czech Republic, 1037 people participated in it.

Only 31.8 percent of the Czechs polled succeeded in overall health literacy, compared with 37.1 percent in the Netherlands that fared best. The EU average is 33.8 percent.

The Czechs scored the best results in understanding and orientation in the sphere of health care (50.6 percent). They did worst in the field of health support (35.7 percent).

This means that the Czechs more easily gain information on the functioning of the health care system based on which they make decisions than on a healthy lifestyle and boosting their own health.

The Czechs markedly exceeded the average of negative answers concerning the decision to improve one’s own health (by 18 percent), to undergo flu vaccination (11.1 percent) and to join a sports club or physical training group (8.3 percent).

They were better than the EU average in understanding the patient information leaflet, where the number of negative answers was 4 percent lower than the average, and in the effort to gain information on political changes with a potential to influence health, where the negative answers were 5.8 percent lower than the average.

The survey also showed that health literacy decreases with age and increases with education.

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