Health Literacy and Self-Care Behavior in Elderly With Diabetes in Ratchaburi Province, Thailand
Background and purpose: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is one major problem in Thailand. Elderly having significant
difficulty reading and comprehending medical information or having limited health literacy tend to have worse health
outcome. The study aimed to describe health literacy and self-care behavior, and examine the association of health literacy
with self-care behavior in elderly with diabetes.
Method: 205 elderly diabetes patients aged 61 – 80 years old were purposively selected from a primary healthcare center:
Banpong health center, BanPong District, Ratchaburi Province. Data were collected by using questionnaires. The 3-level
Health Literacy Scale developed by Ishikawa was used to assess health literacy level. A Pearson’s correlation was run to
determine the relationship between health literacy and self-care behavior.
Results It was revealed that the majority of the participants was average 68.98 years old. The majority of them had income
5,001 – 10,000 ฿ (47.80 %) and the highest education level at elementary (70.20%). Most of them were diagnosed with DM
more than one year (ranged 1- 36 years, average 12.40 years). The participants had inadequate health literacy (average = 1.49).
They had diabetes self-care behavior at a low level (score 34.80). However, there was no correlation between health literacy
and self-care behavior of diabetic patients.
Conclusions: The results encourage efforts to monitor health literacy and self-care behavior in the Thai population and
examine associations with diabetes outcome.
Keywords— Elderly, Health Literacy, Self-care behavior, Diabetes.