The role of health beliefs and health literacy in women’s health promoting behaviours based on the health belief model: a descriptive study – BMC Women’s Health – BMC Blogs Network

The role of health beliefs and health literacy in women’s health promoting behaviours based on the health belief model: a descriptive study – BMC Women’s Health – BMC Blogs Network

In the present study, the H.L score was measured to be 52.71 out of 100. The highest H.L was related to menstruation and the lowest was related to physical activity. In Saeedi Kopaei’s study in Iran, Isfahan city, the total health literacy score of high school female students was 42.6 out of 100. H.L of menstrual health was 68.12 out of 100; it was 54.5% regarding breast self-examination, 48.5% regarding iron deficiency anemia, 81.23% about physical activity and 77.36% for nutrition H.L [2]. The lowest health literacy was related to anemia and breast self-examination and the highest score was related to physical activity. But in our study, the lowest score related to physical activity. The difference in this result can be attributed to the age of the participants (17.4 years vs. 23.5 years) and high school education versus university. Perhaps the heavy volume of lessons has reduced students’ physical activity.

In the study conducted by Ahmadi et al. on female students, the H.L score was reported to be 67.28 out of 100 [23]. In another study conducted by Dehghankar et al. on female students, as many as 65.6% of the girls in the study had adequate and excellent H.L [24]. In a national study conducted on the general population in Iran, the mean H.L score was reported to be 69.02 in the general population of Iran [25]. The results of these studies also report moderate health literacy which is almost similar to the results of the present study.

Although the findings of the aforementioned study, in comparison to those our study, indicate that, contrary to what is expected, female college students of our study are less healthy than the general population, in another national study conducted by Haghdoost et al., H.L in the general population was 51%, and it was close to the findings of our study [26]. Different factors such as differences in populations investigated, sampling methods, and H.L assessment tools can result in differences in the findings of different studies. Moreover, in the study conducted by Tavousi [25] et al., it has been indicated that with increasing age (up to 44 years), H.L tends to increase; H.L was higher for people with the age range of 35–44 years those being in the age range of 18–24 years. This is likely to explain the difference between the findings of our study and those of the study conducted by Tavousi et al. [25].

In this study, there is a significant correlation between total H.L and health-promoting behaviors; when H.L increases, conducting these behaviors increases as well. Like our study, a correlation between H.L and health-promoting behaviors has been indicated in the study conducted (on 375 female college students of Imam Khomeini International University in Qazvin, Iran) by Panahi et al. as well [27]. The study by Mahdavi et al. conducted among 500 women who referred to family health unit in Tehran, Iran also confirmed the findings of our study on the correlation existing between H.L and preventive behaviors [28]. 48.6% of participants had low health literacy level, 24.4% had marginal level and only 27% had adequate health literacy level [28].

Therefore, it seems that promoting public H.L through mass media, social networks, and university curricula are likely to result in increased health-promoting behaviors. It is suggested that by designing, implementing and evaluating educational programs based on risk factors and reducing the burden of …….

Source: https://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-021-01564-2

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