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Self-Care: Balancing Motivation with Skill

Evolving understanding of self-care among individuals

This post was written by Luke Menard. 

Proactively engaging in self-care is one of the most important aspects of promoting and improving one’s overall health. Self-care can range from planning a diet or exercise routine to tracking weight or blood pressure over time.

Ipsos (a global market research company) — along with the National Council on Patient Information and Education and Pfizer — just conducted a large-scale consumer survey to gauge the average person’s understanding of and participation in self-care. And there are some really promising findings!

Here are a few highlights:

Consumers participate in self-care.

  • 64 percent of participants track common health indicators like weight or blood pressure
  • 59 percent of respondents take over-the-counter products to manage their health

Consumers feel that they have the tools necessary to manage their health.

  • 88 percent of consumers are confident in their ability to care for their health
  • 89 percent know what resources to use if they have a health-related concern or question

And they enjoy taking ownership of their health care.

  • 92 percent like being in control of their health

But what stood out to me most is that, while consumers enjoy managing their health care and feel that they have the skills and resources necessary to do so, 64 percent of respondents said they could be making more decisions about their health. Why the gap between people’s desire and perceived ability to manage their health and their actual involvement in the process?

Here’s a theory: nearly 9 out of 10 adults lack the health literacy skills necessary to manage their own health and prevent disease. So while consumers may have the motivation and resources to manage their health, their ability to understand and synthesize that information to inform a health-related decision is likely still limited.

For those of us at CommunicateHealth, this reads like another case for the importance of considering health literacy and plain language in consumer health material development. We need to meet consumers where they are by creating content and messaging that is understandable and easy to digest.

The shift towards a health savvy consumer base is a great thing — and contributing to this momentum is the mission at CommunicateHealth’s core.

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