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Cultural and Health Literacy

So you've made it into your favorite college. Congrats!!! I bet you'll make sure your academic literacy will be in perfect order but there's more that will shape you into an independent, healthy, open-minded, and successful human being, regardless of whether you're looking to secure a safe and sound career or want to go the road of entrepreneurship. So check out this post about cultural and health literacy!

Cultural Literacy

The effort to understand the different cultures and languages all over the world pushes educators to create new methods of teaching to help students learn more effectively. Folklore, music, theater, dance and all other modes of artistic expression are often definitive of a specific culture’s history.

While there are varied distinctions regarding the cultures of different people the world over, there are persistent themes in language structure and art expressions that are helpful in understanding the cultural profile of a nation.

Each nation is populated by people who come from diverse backgrounds and nationalities and over time, their uniqueness combines together to develop a nation’s identity. Changes that affect the majority of the population can contribute to cultural shifts.

Each culture maintains their own standards in areas such as the recognition of men and women in public, in the practices governing the different social structures starting from the family, observance of social classes, and the definition of decency and civility.

The way that we understand and treat each other is affected by the evolution of literacy. A high level of literacy is often a sign of a progressive economy and is characterized by the active involvement of the different sectors of the society in handling the nation’s concerns without feeling overwhelmed by new or unknown circumstances.

Being competent in understanding different cultures can be time-consuming. While not every person would benefit from having a high level of cultural literacy, there are occupations and social positions that require proficiency in this area. For people who love to travel or whose jobs involve traveling to different destinations, it is not only an advantage but a necessity to develop this type of literacy.

This knowledge involves familiarizing oneself with information from the basic, such as knowing common street signs to recognize the historical significance and the understanding of the different forms of emerging popular culture. Even more important than just knowing the general info of a specific place is knowing how to use it to effectively communicate and interact with the local inhabitants of the area.

Health Literacy

The necessity to have fluency in discussing health and other related conditions is critical for individuals whose occupation borders on caring for people such as personal trainers. This is to ensure that the exercise routine for a client is appropriate to his health condition.

High-risk conditions include those with diabetes and heart ailments. A trainer’s objective should be aimed at providing optimal movement and exercise for a client to fit his health requirement. Many students, particularly those in their freshman year, are combining too much sugary and fatty food (often in unlimited portions) with sodas to get the “Freshman 15″ (the 15 extra pounds often gained by students in their first year in college).

The American Medical Association (AMA) holds seminars for the training of health professionals and volunteers regarding health literacy. Their scientific affairs council supports the efforts to increase patient literacy by teaching them how to read and comprehend the written prescription on pill containers, appointment slips, and other health-related documents. The objective is to adequately equip patients with the knowledge to understand materials that are critical to their health condition.

A high level of health literacy helps individuals better manage their health. While there are some health professionals who devote extra time to explain medical terminologies to patients, this is more of an exception rather the rule. So to get the most of your consultation time with your physician, make sure that you ask questions if something is unclear to you.

It is critical that you understand the nature of your condition, if you have been diagnosed, and the different ways of managing it. This includes medications, special exercises, and dietary restrictions, if applicable. It's actually no wonder that many teachers are worried about the social networking behavior of their students which may easily lead to social isolation.

A lot of people resort to self-care instead of seeking the advice of a licensed physician. While this may not be entirely negative, you can be wasting time that can be used for the proper diagnosis and treatment of your condition. Make an appointment with your doctor and do not be embarrassed with your problems because health practitioners are trained to competently handle health concerns.

A survey done on patients showed that a lot of patients do not understand why they have to schedule a follow up appointment,  around two thirds do not know that there are required conditions when taking different drug preparations such as pills that should be taken on an empty stomach as opposed to medicines that should be taken after eating.

Other information that patients can benefit from is knowing whether they are qualified for financial assistance from the government or not. The ultimate objective of improving literacy in this field is to enable patients to read, understand and use health information.