Health literacy is an important issue to consider in the provision of health-care to children. Similar to the adult population, most parents face health literacy challenges. Of particular concern, 1 in 4 parents have low health literacy, greatly affecting their ability to use health information to make health decisions for their child. High expectations are placed on parents and children to achieve effective disease management and positive health outcomes in the context of complex health-care systems and disease treatment regimens. Low health literacy affects parent acquisition of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors, as well as child health outcomes across the domains of disease prevention, acute illness care, and chronic illness care. The effect of low health literacy is wide ranging, including 1) poor nutrition knowledge and behaviors, 2) higher obesity rates, 3) more medication errors, 4) more emergency department use, and 5) poor asthma knowledge, behaviors, and outcomes. Health-care providers can mitigate the effects of health literacy by seeking to align health-care demands with the health literacy skills of families. Effective health literacy–informed interventions provide insights into methods that can be used by providers and health systems to improve health outcomes. Health literacy–informed communication strategies should be used with all families in a “universal precautions approach” because all parents likely benefit from clear communication. As scientific advances are made in disease prevention and management, unless families understand how to follow provider recommendations, the benefit of these advances will not be realized and disparities in outcomes will be exacerbated.

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