Health literacy is defined as the ability to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services in order to make informed and appropriate health decisions.
Figure 5 shows that Māori aged 50–65 years have significantly lower health literacy skills than non-Māori (males and females). Having a health literacy score at level 1 or 2 means that an individual has insufficient skills to cope with the health literacy demands they typically face. Level 3 is described as the ‘minimum required for individuals to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work in the emerging knowledge-based economy’.
For a full description of health literacy levels, and further information and findings on health literacy and Māori, see the report Kōrero Mārama: Health Literacy and Māori − Results from the 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey.
Figure 5: The distribution of health literacy, Māori and non-Māori, aged 50–65 years, 2006
Source: 2006 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey
Note: Prioritised ethnicity has been used – see Ngā Tapuae me ngā Raraunga: Methods and data sources for further information.