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Most Australians consider their health literacy as positive, latest Australian Bureau of Statistics research shows.

One third of Australians found it easy to discuss health concerns and actively engage with their healthcare providers: 56% found this usually easy; while 12% found it difficult.

The National Health Survey: Health Literacy, 2018 report assessed a broad range of health literacy characteristics to be used to improve health services.

It was conducted in all states and territories and across urban, rural and remote areas of Australia from January to August 2018.

Information gathered summarised how Australians found, understood and used health information and how they interacted with doctors and other healthcare providers, ABS Director of Health Louise Gates said.

“Overall, 25% of people strongly agreed that they felt socially supported in managing their health. However, people with three or more long-term health conditions were less likely to strongly agree (17%) compared with people who didn’t report a long-term health condition (29%).”

Although just over a quarter (26%) of people overall found it always easy to navigate the healthcare system, this was lower for people who reported very high levels of psychological distress (17%) compared with people who reported low psychological distress levels (31%).

Data collected was a component of the larger National Health Survey 2017-18.

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