A rapid evidence review on health literacy and health behaviors in older populations

Brianna Rae Kirby, Olivia Lindly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Chronic health conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease are highly prevalent in the older adult population. Engaging in health behaviors can help prevent the onset of or better manage these conditions. To better understand how to increase older adult engagement in health behaviors, this rapid evidence review evaluated the relationship between health literacy and health behaviors in adults over the age of 65. The databases utilized for this review were PubMed (Medline), EBSCO (APA PsycInfo, Academic Search, and CINAHL Plus.) All six studies included demonstrated significant and positive associations between adequate health literacy and certain health behaviors including pap-smears, mammograms, physical activity, dietary variety, participation in medical checkups, patient participation in health care, hand hygiene practices, and diabetes self-management behaviors. Adequate health literacy was, however, associated with alcohol consumption in two studies. Knowing this, health professionals can utilize health literacy screening and interventions to promote health behaviors in older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100195
JournalAging and Health Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2024


  • Adult
  • Health behaviors
  • Health literacy
  • Older
  • Rapid evidence review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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