This article was originally published here
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 27;17(23):E8806. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17238806.
Adequate health literacy is important for strong health outcomes during pregnancy, particularly among mothers with high risk of adverse outcomes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Understanding the health literacy of young pregnant women in low-income settings could support strategies to reduce adverse outcomes in this population. This exploratory study assessed the health literacy of young pregnant adolescents and young adults from a rural area in Northeast Brazil and associated factors such as socioeconomic conditions, adequacy of prenatal care, and social support from family and friends. In this cross-sectional study, 41 pregnant adolescents (13-18 years) and 45 pregnant adults (23-28 years) from the Rio Grande do Norte state, Brazil, were assessed regarding health literacy through the Short Assessment of Health Literacy for Portuguese-Speaking Adults (SAHLPA, score from 0-18, inadequate if <15). Income sufficiency, self-perceived school performance, compliance with recommendations for adequate prenatal care, and social support were also assessed. A linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the variables associated with the SAHLPA score. Ninety-five percent of the adolescents and 53.3% of the adults (p < 0.001) presented inadequate health literacy. Adolescent age (β – 3.5, p < 0.001), poorer self-perceived school performance (β – 2.8, p < 0.001), and insufficient income for basic needs (β – 2.8, p = 0.014) were associated with worse SAHLPA scores. Adolescent mothers have higher rates of inadequate health literacy in this population. Policies are needed to improve access to health information for young populations from rural low-income areas.