A systematic review and meta-analysis of health literacy in the Iranian population: findings and implications

Hassan Mahmoodi, Sahar Dalvand, Reza Ghanei Gheshlagh, Amanj Kurdi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
15 Downloads (Pure)


Context: Health literacy includes social and cognitive skills determining individuals’ motivation to obtain and understand health information, thus empowers them to promote healthy behaviors. The exact level of health literacy in the Iranian population is unknown, as different Iranian studies have reported different health literacy rates in the Iranian population. Objectives: Therefore, this study aimed to investigate health literacy in the Iranian population by systematically combining and analyzing findings from the previous studies. Data Sources: A total of 26 articles in Persian and in English, published up to December 2017 were reviewed. Searching for articles with the keywords prevalence, abundance, health literacy, and Iran was conducted in the following national and international databases: Scientific Information Database (SID), Medline, Magiran,Web of Science, ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, PubMed, and Scopus. The data were analyzed using the meta-analysis method and a random effects model. The heterogeneity among the studies was examined using the I2 statistic. All the analyses were performed using the STATA 12 software. Results: The highest levels of health literacy were for the region 1 of Iran, including the following provinces: Alborz, Tehran, Qazvin, Mazandaran, Semnan, Golestan, and Gom (46.7% with 95% CI: 25.7 - 67.7). Moreover, pregnant women (37.4% with 95% CI: 27 - 53.3) had the highest level of health literacy. In contrast, older people (60.2% with 95% CI: 43.7 - 76.8) and patients with diabetes (55.4% with 95% CI: 35.6 - 75.2) had the lowest health literacy levels. Conclusions: The lowest health literacy level was in older people and patients with diabetes. Therefore, it seems necessary to provide education for communitiesandgroups with inadequate health literacy levels, especially older peopleandpatients with chronic diseases to improve their health.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81115
Number of pages10
JournalShiraz E-Medical Journal
Issue number4
Early online date13 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2019


  • health literacy
  • systematic review
  • Iran


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