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Table 2 Percentage of respondents giving each response for all health literacy items

From: Comprehensive health literacy in Japan is lower than in Europe: a validated Japanese-language assessment of health literacy

  Health domain/Competence Items Very easy Fairly easy Fairly difficult Very difficult Don’t know/Not applicable Total difficult (“Very difficult” and “Fairly difficult”)
         Japan Europea Differences
Q1 Health care/Accessing Finding information on symptoms of illnesses that concern you 7.7 41.4 37.8 8.3 4.8 46.1 22.8 23.3
Q2 Finding information on treatments of illnesses that concern you 6.0 36.0 41.3 12.0 4.7 53.3 26.9 26.4
Q3 Finding out what to do in case of a medical emergency 3.5 30.5 42.6 18.3 5.1 60.9 21.8 39.1
Q4 Finding out where to get professional help when you are ill 4.7 27.4 42.9 20.5 4.5 63.4 11.9 51.5
Q5 Health care/Understanding Understanding what your doctor says to you 8.3 45.5 37.8 6.3 2.1 44.0 15.3 28.7
Q6 Understanding the leaflets that come with your medicine 11.4 46.1 31.8 9.0 1.7 40.8 28.0 12.8
Q7 Understanding what to do in a medical emergency 3.7 28.5 46.3 17.2 4.4 63.5 21.7 41.8
Q8 Understanding your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions on how to take a prescribed medicine 18.3 54.5 20.6 5.0 1.6 25.6 6.5 19.1
Q9 Health care/Appraising Judging how information from your doctor applies to you 7.4 43.1 39.8 6.8 2.8 46.7 18.0 28.7
Q10 Judging the advantages and disadvantages of different treatment options 3.4 21.6 48.4 22.2 4.4 70.6 42.6 28.0
Q11 Judging when you may need to get a second opinion from another doctor 2.9 16.2 45.1 27.9 7.9 73.0 38.6 34.4
Q12 Judging if the information about illness in the media is reliable 2.8 17.6 51.4 21.8 6.5 73.2 49.7 23.5
Q13 Health care/Applying Using information the doctor gives you to make decisions about your illness 5.4 39.8 40.5 8.8 5.5 49.3 23.1 26.2
Q14 Following the instructions on medication 27.8 54.0 13.6 3.2 1.4 16.8 6.8 10.0
Q15 Calling an ambulance in an emergency 19.9 38.4 26.8 10.1 4.8 36.8 8.8 28.0
Q16 Following instructions from your doctor or pharmacist 25.1 57.6 12.3 3.1 1.8 15.5 5.6 9.9
Q17 Disease Prevention/Accessing Finding information about how to manage unhealthy behavior such as smoking, low physical activity and excessive drinking 17.2 52.1 22.4 5.9 2.5 28.3 14.7 13.6
Q18 Finding information on how to manage mental health problems such as stress or depression 6.4 36.1 39.1 13.9 4.6 52.9 33.5 19.4
Q19 Finding information about vaccinations and health screenings that you should have 10.5 45.3 32.8 7.3 4.1 40.1 24.0 16.1
Q20 Finding information on how to prevent or manage conditions such as being overweight, high blood pressure or high cholesterol 12.0 49.8 29.2 5.5 3.5 34.7 18.1 16.6
Q21 Disease Prevention/ Understanding Understanding health warnings about behavior such as smoking, low physical activity and excessive drinking 36.9 45.9 12.3 3.6 1.2 15.9 10.3 5.6
Q22 Understanding why you need vaccinations 22.5 53.1 17.5 4.3 2.7 21.7 16.6 5.1
Q23 Understanding why you need health screenings 24.5 54.6 15.8 3.3 1.8 19.2 10.4 8.8
Q24 Disease Prevention/Appraising Judging how reliable health warnings are, such as smoking, low physical activity and excessive drinking 22.1 49.0 21.9 3.9 3.1 25.8 14.4 11.4
Q25 Judging when you need to go to a doctor for a check-up 9.4 33.6 43.6 9.6 3.8 53.2 16.3 36.9
Q26 Judging which vaccinations you may need 7.3 30.2 44.9 12.1 5.5 57.0 32.7 24.3
Q27 Judging which health screenings you should have 9.4 34.2 40.5 12.2 3.7 52.8 25.1 27.7
Q28 Judging if the information on health risks in the media is reliable 5.0 25.1 49.1 15.1 5.6 64.2 42.1 22.1
Q29 Disease Prevention/ Applying Deciding if you should have a flu vaccination 16.9 43.5 27.7 8.2 3.7 35.9 26.2 9.7
Q30 Deciding how you can protect yourself from illness based on advice from family and friends 7.5 38.4 39.1 9.4 5.6 48.5 22.2 26.3
Q31 Deciding how you can protect yourself from illness based on information in the media 6.4 36.5 42.5 9.6 5.0 52.1 36.9 15.2
Q32 Health Promotion/ Accessing Finding information on healthy activities such as exercise, healthy food and nutrition 12.7 54.1 24.6 5.3 3.3 29.9 14.3 15.6
Q33 Finding out about activities that are good for your mental well-being 14.2 53.9 22.5 4.8 4.6 27.3 22.6 4.7
Q34 Finding information on how your neighborhood could be more health-friendly 7.9 38.3 39.8 8.2 5.9 47.9 40.3 7.6
Q35 Finding out about political changes that may affect health 5.2 25.8 44.6 18.5 5.9 63.1 53.2 9.9
Q36 Finding out about efforts to promote your health at work 7.9 35.7 30.6 7.3 18.5 38.0 34.8 3.2
Q37 Health Promotion/ Understanding Understanding advice on health from family members or friends 12.0 52.0 25.9 4.6 5.6 30.5 13.0 17.5
Q38 Understanding information on food packaging 11.0 43.8 32.8 9.0 3.3 41.8 36.2 5.6
Q39 Understanding information in the media on how to get healthier 11.7 51.5 28.6 5.0 3.2 33.6 23.3 10.3
Q40 Understanding information on how to keep your mind healthy 6.9 39.4 39.9 9.4 4.4 49.3 26.1 23.2
Q41 Health Promotion/ Appraising Judging how where you live affects your health and well-being 5.4 24.7 46.9 14.9 8.2 61.8 24.6 37.2
Q42 Judging how your housing conditions help you to stay healthy 6.4 27.4 46.2 12.7 7.3 58.9 19.5 39.4
Q43 Judging which everyday behavior is related to your health 10.3 41.2 36.1 9.5 2.9 45.5 12.6 32.9
Q44 Health Promotion/ Applying Making decisions to improve your health 10.2 36.8 36.9 13.8 2.3 50.7 21.7 29.0
Q45 Joining a sports club or exercise class if you want to 9.1 29.4 36.8 19.5 5.1 56.4 24.1 32.3
Q46 Influencing your living conditions that affect your health and well-being 6.5 26.9 43.6 19.9 2.9 63.6 25.5 38.1
Q47 Taking part in activities that improve health and well-being in your community 4.8 23.3 44.7 19.9 7.2 64.6 38.9 25.7
  1. a8 countries, total n = 8102