Personal Health Literacy and Life Simple 7: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis

Hamdi S. Adam, Sharon Stein Merkin, Madison D. Anderson, Teresa Seeman, Kiarri N. Kershaw, Jared W. Magnani, Susan A. Everson-Rose, Pamela L. Lutsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Personal Health literacy (PHL) is essential in cardiovascular risk management. Hindrances in PHL can lead to poor cardiovascular outcomes. Purpose: To investigate whether limited PHL is associated with lower likelihoods of i) overall cardiovascular health and ii) individual cardiovascular health components as defined by the American Heart Association’s Life Simple (LS7). Methods: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants (N = 3719; median age[range]: 59[45–84]) completed a PHL questionnaire in 2016–2018. PHL was classified as limited (score ≥10) or adequate (score <10). LS7 components were measured in 2000–2002. Robust Poisson regression was employed to compute prevalence ratios and 95% confidence intervals (PR[95%CI]) of LS7 measures. Results: 14.7% of participants had limited PHL. Limited PHL was associated with lower likelihoods of optimal LS7 (0.69[0.50, 0.95], p =.02) and average LS7 (0.95[0.88, 1.02], p =.15) after adjustment. Limited PHL was significantly associated with a 7% lower likelihood of ideal fasting blood glucose level after adjustment (0.93[0.89, 0.98], p <.01). Discussion: Limited PHL was modestly associated with suboptimal cardiovascular health and elevated blood glucose, independent of income and education. Translation to Health Education Practice: Health educators and providers should equitably address PHL barriers to improve cardiovascular management and quality of care for patients and communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-462
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023

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© 2023 SHAPE America.


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