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NLT highlights link between literacy and health

The National Literacy Trust has published a report promoting the link between literacy and health.

The report, Understanding the role of literacy in public health, said that improving literacy skills can empower individuals to take control of their own health, leading to reductions in health inequalities and the pressure on public service.

The charity will this year continue its work at three NLT “hubs” in Middlesbrough, Bradford and Peterborough, where it is working with local authorities. The charity is aiming to raise literacy standards in those areas by distributing early years literacy posters across the city, as well as information cards about key literacy development from birth to school.

An evaluation report on the impact of the hubs will be released in 2015.

National Literacy Trust Director Jonathan Douglas said: “Our research shows that literacy skills are a fundamental part of empowering people to stay healthy by preventing disease and taking prescribed treatment correctly and should be included as an integral part of any public health strategy.

The partnerships made with health workers through our National Literacy Trust Hubs show the ability of a shared public health and literacy agenda to unlock the potential of services using existing resources to improve people’s health literacy.”

In June, the charity announced a partnership with Boots Opticians to look at the link between literacy and eye health.

The venture will begin with the Schools Challenge in September, when Boots Opticians volunteers will visit primary schools to encourage children to read for enjoyment and learn about eye health during assemblies and story times. The Boots Book Challenge will then see volunteers fundraising through book sales and there will be a fundraising tin in every Boots Opticians practice.

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