Assessing the future assessors: A health literacy assessment using the newest vital sign

Rathnakar P. Urval, Priyanka Kamath, Medha Urval, Kashvi Gupta, Ashwin Kamath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background & Aim: Health literacy (HL) has been defined as the ability to obtain, process, and understand basic information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. This study aimed to determine the HL of undergraduate medical students using the Newest Vital Sign (NVS), a nutrition label-based HL tool. Method: This was a cross-sectional study conducted among newly admitted first year medical students using the Newest Vital Sign. Following informed consent, under supervision, the participants were handed over the nutrition label with six questions. Questions were asked in sequence, and continued even if the participant did not get the first or the second question right. If a participant got the first four questions right, it was considered a sign of adequate literacy. Results: The study involved 110 participants out of which 72 were females. Overall, 87% of the participants had adequate health literacy, 11% had a possibility of limited health literacy, and less than 2% had a likelihood of limited health literacy. The mean of the total time taken to answer the questionnaire was 9.89 ± 2.25 minutes. More than 50% of the participants answered the questionnaire in the time range of nine to eleven minutes. Only <25% participants took longer than ten minutes to solve the questionnaire. Conclusion: It was observed that more than 85% of the participants had an adequate level of health literacy. NVS, which is based on a nutrition label, is a very simple tool, and the test can be easily administered in ten minutes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)308-312
Number of pages5
JournalIndian Journal of Public Health Research and Development
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 09-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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