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Table 1 Health literacy items and interpretation of scale scores for the two health literacy scales, Central Denmark Region 2013

From: National indicators of health literacy: ability to understand health information and to engage actively with healthcare providers - a population-based survey among Danish adults

Understand health information well enough to know what to do (‘Understanding’)
1a Confidently fill medical forms in the correct way
2a Accurately follow the instructions from… 1
3a Read and understand written health information
4a Read and understand all the information on medication labels
5a Understand what healthcare providers are asking you to do
  High: Individuals with high scores are able to understand all written information (including numerical information) in relation to their health and able to write appropriately on forms where required
Low: Individuals with low scores have problems understanding any written health information or instructions about treatments or medications. Unable to read or write well enough to complete medical forms
Ability to actively engage with healthcare providers (‘Engagement’)
1b Make sure that healthcare providers understand your problems properly
2b Feel able to discuss your health concerns with a healthcare provider
3b Have good discussions about your health with doctors
4b Discuss things with healthcare providers until you understand all you need to
5b Ask healthcare providers questions to get the health information… 1
  High: Individuals with high scores are proactive about their health and feel in control in relationships with healthcare providers. Are able to seek advice from additional healthcare providers when necessary. They keep going until they get what they want. Empowered
Low: Individuals with low scores are passive in their approach to healthcare, inactive i.e., they do not proactively seek or clarify information and advice and/or service options. They accept information without question. Unable to ask questions to get information or to clarify what they do not understand. They accept what is offered without seeking to ensure that it meets their needs. Feel unable to share concerns. The do not have a sense of agency in interactions with providers
  1. 1Some HLQ™ items are truncated. HLQ is protected by copyright and cannot be used without permission of the authors. Full copy of the items is available at