Health Literacy Levels among Outpatients at a Tertiary Hospital in Delhi, India


  • Monika Sahoo Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
  • Charu Kohli Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India
  • Jugal Kishore Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India



Health Literacy, Knowledge,, Outpatient Clinics, Diabetes Mellitus, Hypertension


Background: Health literacy is defined as the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health. This study was conducted to determine health literacy levels and the associated factors among patients attending the outpatient departments of a tertiary care hospital in Delhi.

Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was carried out in a tertiary care teaching hospital in Delhi over a period of four months. A total of 150 patients were included in the study. Fifty patients from the Diabetes Clinics, 50 patients from Hypertension Clinics, and 50 patients with anemia from the Antenatal Outpatient Department (OPD) were selected using a convenience sampling method. Data was analyzed using Epi Info software. Statistical analysis was conducted with the chi-square test and the Fisher’s exact test. P values less than 0.05 were considered significant.

Results: Out of 50 diabetic subjects, 37 (74%) understood the information about their blood sugar levels as explained to them by the doctor. Similar results were found among hypertensive subjects as well. Furthermore, education status was significantly associated with health literacy. In terms of understanding the regimen of medications, significant association was seen with age, sex, and education.

Conclusion: Education status, age, and gender are important determinants of health literacy. Our results support that innovative strategies of communication should be used to improve health literacy among patients.


Metrics Loading ...

Author Biography

Monika Sahoo, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

Monika Sahoo has completed her internship for the MBBS undergraduate

program at Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India


1. Wehmeyer MM, Corwin CL, Guthmiller JM, Lee JY. The impact of oral health
literacy on periodontal health status. J Public Health Dent. 2014 Winter;74(1):80-7.
2. Devi MA, Soni S, Radha, Kadanakuppe S, Nagashree, Pallavi. Reliability and validity of a questionnaire to assess oral health literacy among college students in Bangalore city. Int J Contemp Dent. 2011 Mar;2(2):43-7.
3. Haridas R, Supreetha S, Ajagannanavar SL, Tikare S, Maliyil MJ, Kalappa AA. Oral health literacy and oral health status among adults attending dental college hospital in India. J Int Oral Health. 2014 Nov-Dec;6(6):61-6.
4. Baker DW, Wolf MS, Feinglass J, Thompson JA, Gazmararian JA, Huang J. Health literacy and mortality among elderly person. Arch Intern Med. 2007 Jul 23;167(14):1503-9.
5. White S, Chen J, Atchison R. Relationship of preventive health practi¬ces and health literacy: a national study. Am J Health Behav. 2008 May- Jun;32(3):227-42.
6. Wolf MS, Gazmararian JA, Baker DW. Health literacy and health risk behaviors among older adults. Am J Prev Med. 2007 Jan;32(1):19-24.
7. Wolf MS, Gazmararian JA, Baker DW. Health literacy and functional health status among older adults. Arch Intern Med. 2005 Sep 26;165(17):1946-52.
8. Caplan L, Wolfe F, Michaud K, Quinzanos I, Hirsh J M. Strong association of health literacy with functional status among rheumatoid arthritis patients: a cross-sectional study. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2014 Apr;66(4):508-14.
9. Marrie RA, Salter A, Tyry T, Fox RJ, Cutter GR. Health literacy association with health behaviors and health care utilization in multiple sclerosis: a cross-sectional study. Interact J Med Res. 2014 Feb 10;3(1):e3.
10. Morrison AK, Schapira MM, Gorelick MH, Hoffmann RG, Brousseau DC. Low caregiver health literacy is associated with higher pediatric emergency department use and nonurgent visits. Acad Pediatr. 2014 May-Jun;14(3):309-14.
11. Reavley NJ, McCann TV, Cvetkovski S, Jorm AF. A multifaceted intervention to improve mental health literacy in students of a multicampus university: a cluster
randomised trial. Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2014 Oct;49(10):1655-66.
12. Howard DH, Sentell T, Gazmararian JA. Impact of health literacy on socioeconomic and racial differences in health in an elderly population. J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Aug;21(8):857-61.
13. Inoue M, Takahashi M, Kai I. Impact of communicative and critical health literacy on understanding of diabetes care and self-efficacy in diabetes management: a cross-sectional study of primary care in Japan. BMC Fam Pract. 2013 Mar 23;14:40.
14. Souza JG, Apolinario D, Magaldi RM, Busse AL, Campora F, Jacob-Filho W. Functional health literacy and glycaemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2014 Feb 12;4(2):e004180.
15. Levinthal BR, Morrow DG, Tu W, Wu J, Murray MD. Cognition and health li¬teracy in patients with hypertension. J Gen Intern Med. 2008 Aug;23(8):1172-6.
16. Javadzade SH, Sharifirad G, Radjati F, Mostafavi F, Reisi M, Hasanzade A. Relationship between health literacy, health status, and healthy behaviors among older adults in Isfahan, Iran. J Educ Health Promot. 2012;1:31.
17. Kohan S, Ghasemi S, Dodangeh M. Associations between maternal health literacy and prenatal care and pregnancy outcome. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2007 Autumn;12(4):146-52.
18. van Onna M, Hinsenveld E, de Vries H, Boonen A. Health literacy in patients dealing with gout: a qualitative study. Clin Rheumatol. 2014 Dec 12. [Epub ahead of print]
19. Ownby RL, Acevedo A, Jacobs RJ, Caballero J, Waldrop-Valverde D. Quality of life, health status, and health service utilization related to a new measure of health literacy: FLIGHT/VIDAS. Patient Educ Couns. 2014 Sep;96(3):404-10.
20. Bostock S, Steptoe A. Association between low functional health literacy and mortality in older adults: longitudinal cohort study. BMJ. 2012 Mar 15;344:e1602.
21. D’Cruz AA, Shankar Aradhya MR. Health literacy among Indian adults seeking dental care. Dent Res J (Isfahan). 2013 Jan;10(1):20-4.



How to Cite

Sahoo, M., Kohli, C., & Kishore, J. (2015). Health Literacy Levels among Outpatients at a Tertiary Hospital in Delhi, India. International Journal of Medical Students, 3(1), 29–33.



Original Article