Introduction Health literacy (HL), which is defined as ‘the ability to access, understand, and use information for health’ (Nutbeam, 1998), has gained attention as a strategy to reduce health disparities, but not enough research has been conducted in Japanese workplace. This report shows to examine how HL among company employees are associated with lifestyle and NCD’s.
Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted by giving self-administered surveys to 2245 employees working at an architectural consultant company in 2014. Five questions from an communicative and critical HL scale for workers (Ishikawa, et al., 2008) were used, and simultaneously we asked Morimoto’s lifestyle index including dietary, exercise, sleep, smoking and drinking habits, mental status of stress, and productivity. We also investigated the association between prevalence of obesity, hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia and HL from health screening data.
Results On the CCHL scales, scores for ‘gathering information’ were highest, with 60% of employees answering at least ‘agree.’ This was higher than ‘selecting information’, ‘judging information’, ‘sharing information’, and ‘personal decision-making’. We found positive relation between HL and several lifestyles, such as concerning about diet balance, eating speed, late dinner, physical activity, quality of sleep. Self-awareness of stress was significantly low and the productivity was high in the high HL group. Prevalence of obesity, hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes are 21%, 12%, 35%, 8%, respectively. Prevalence of hypertension and diabetes are significantly low in the high HL group.
Conclusion Similar to previous study, we found the positive relation between employees HL and lifestyle or NCD’s. This may be related to the high educational background of employees and the 15 years history of workplace health promotion activities carried out in this company. We will need to further analyse multi-facility and longitudinal analysis and conduct workplace health promotion activities according to employee’s health literacy level.
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