Original Article

Health Literacy Level of Hispanic College Students

Authors: Francisco Soto Mas, MD, PhD, Holly E. Jacobson, PhD, Yan Dong, PhD candidate


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to assess the health literacy levels of Hispanic college students.

Methods: Participants were students at a major Hispanic-serving university in the southwestern United States. The design was cross-sectional, and data were collected using the Newest Vital Sign in English. Analyses included frequencies and descriptive statistics, simple and multiple logistic regression, and χ 2 /Fisher exact tests.

Results: A total of 331 students participated. The overall Newest Vital Sign mean score was 5.1 (standard deviation 1.18); more than 90% (n = 299) obtained a score equivalent to an “always adequate literacy.” A lower percentage than that found by a national survey scored at the “below adequate literacy” level. Language spoken at home was the only covariate that significantly affected test scores ( P = 0.01).

Conclusions: The overall health literacy level of the participants was higher than the general Hispanic adult population. Investing in the education of Hispanics may help to address disparities in health literacy.

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