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Top 4 Reasons to Promote Maternal Health Literacy


1. Health Literacy is a key determinant of health.
 
•Limited health literacy, measured as ability to read medical terms and
documents, is linked to riskier health choices, less participation in preventive
activities, more accidents, poor adherence to medication, more hospitalization,
increased morbidity and premature death.

• Studies using more comprehensive measures demonstrate that health
literacy has a specific direct and independent effect on self-assessed health.

• Limited health literacy in mothers is linked to increased risk of 
developmental delays and reduced participation in Early Intervention
when delays occur.

2.  Health literacy means empowerment: the capacity to make choices
and transform those choices into desired actions and outcomes.
(World Bank)

• Mothers cannot achieve their fullest health potential and nurture a healthy
competent child unless they are able to take control of those things which
determine their health.  (Ottowa Charter for Health Promotion)

3. Efforts are highly leveraged in pregnancy and early parenting

• Pregnant women exhibit readiness to learn and change well above national
norms. They are becoming healthcare decision-makers for themselves and
their families. Developing their health literacy in pregnancy can benefit entire
families across their lifetime with short and long term benefits extending to the
healthcare system, the justice and to the schools; to the public health and the
economy.

4. Mothers’ health literacy is an important factor in prevention of
noncommunicable diseases that are now the leading causes of death in
the US and globally.

• Both limited health literacy and noncommunicable disease disproportionately
affect poor, under-educated, and minority populations.

• Limited health literacy reinforces inequities. 

• Promoting maternal health literacy and empowering mothers are recognized
global health strategies for reducing the burden of noncommunicable disease
with origins in early development, and associated disparities.  
(WHO, United Nations)
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