Asthma numeracy skill and health literacy

J Asthma. 2006 Nov;43(9):705-10. doi: 10.1080/02770900600925585.


To assess understanding of numerical concepts in asthma self-management instructions, a 4-item Asthma Numeracy Questionnaire (ANQ) was developed and read to 73 adults with persistent asthma. Participants completed the Short Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (STOFHLA), 12(16%) answered all 4 numeracy items correctly; 6(8%) answered none correctly. Participants were least likely to understand items involving risk and percentages. Low numeracy but not STOFHLA score was associated with a history of hospitalization for asthma. At higher STOFHLA levels there was a wide range of the total number of correct numeracy responses. Numeracy is a unique and important component of health literacy.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / psychology*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Health Education*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Care
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires