Health-related behaviors moderate the association between age and self-reported health literacy among Taiwanese women

Women Health. 2018 Jul;58(6):632-646. doi: 10.1080/03630242.2017.1333074. Epub 2017 Jul 6.


The role of health-related behaviors in the association between age and health literacy has not been well-elucidated. The present cross-sectional study evaluated the interactions between age and health-related behaviors in 942 women in Taiwan between February and October 2013. Women aged 18-78 years were randomly sampled and recruited from the national administrative system. Self-reported health literacy was measured by the European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q47) in Mandarin, asking about sociodemographics and essential health-related behaviors (watching health-related television, community involvement). The interviews were conducted confidentially by well-trained interviewers after having participants' consent. In multiple linear regression models adjusted for education attainment, self-perceived social status, ability to pay for medication, and health-related behaviors, health literacy was significantly negatively related to age (unstandardized regression coefficient, B = -0.04; 95% confidence interval [CI] = (-0.07; 0.00); p = .03). The lower health literacy among older women was significantly modified by watching health-related television programs (from "rarely/not-at-all", B = -0.08 (-0.12, -0.04), p < .001 to "often"; B = 0.10 (0.07, 0.12); p < .001) and community involvement (from "rarely/not-at-all", B = -0.06 (-0.10, -0.03); p = .001 to "often", B = 0.06 (0.03, 0.08); p < .001). Specific health behaviors were protective of older women's health literacy and likely their health.

Keywords: Age; community involvement; health literacy; health-related television; women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Attitude to Health
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Literacy / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Information Seeking Behavior
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Concept
  • Self Report
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Taiwan
  • Television*
  • Young Adult