Health literacy and body mass index: a population-based study in a South-Eastern European country

Ervin Toci, Genc Burazeri, Haxhi Kamberi*, Dorina Toçi, Enver Roshi, Naim Jerliu, Arjan Bregu, Helmut Brand

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: The relationship of health literacy (HL) with objective measures including anthropometric measurements remains an under-researched topic to date.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between body mass index (BMI) and HL among Albanian adults.

METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Tirana, Albania, in 2012-2014 including a population-based sample of 1154 individuals aged ≥18 years. HL was assessed by the use of HLS-EU-Q instrument. Anthropometrics included measurement of weight and height based on which BMI was calculated. Information on socio-demographic characteristics was also collected. Logistic regression was employed to assess the independent association of BMI and HL controlling all socio-demographic factors.

RESULTS: One-fifth of the participants reported an inadequate HL level, whereas almost one-third (31%) reported an excellent HL level. About 41% of study participants were overweight and further 22% were obese. In multivariate analysis, there was evidence of a strong and significant association between BMI and HL: the odds of overweight/obesity were two times higher (OR = 2.0, 95% CI = 1.3-3.1) among inadequate HL individuals compared with excellent HL participants.

CONCLUSION: Our findings, pertinent to a transitional country in the South East Europe, point to a strong, consistent and highly significant association between BMI and HL, irrespective of a wide array of socio-demographic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-130
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date25 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Albania
  • body mass index
  • health literacy
  • obesity
  • overweight
  • CARE
  • BMI

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