‘They should come forward with the information': menopause-related health literacy and health care experiences among Vietnamese-born women in Melbourne, Australia

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Abstract

Objectives: Health literacy refers to an individual’s capacity to access, understand, evaluate and use health information to make well informed health-related decision to maintain and promote optimal health. Low health literacy is linked with worse health outcomes and is more common in people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds and from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and among people with limited education. Peri-menopausal and postmenopausal health behaviour predicts health in later life. This qualitative study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia. The aim of this study was to explore menopause-related health literacy and experiences with menopause-related health care among Vietnamese-born women who had immigrated to Australia as adults. Design: A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews was conducted with women aged between 45 and 60 years and who were either in the peri or postmenopausal phase. Transcripts were analysed thematically. Results: A total of 12 women were interviewed. Participants viewed menopause as a natural event and obtained most of their menopause-related information from family and friends. Limited English language proficiency affected their capacity to access, understand, evaluate and use menopause-related health information. They identified their Vietnamese speaking General Practitioners (GPs) as a reliable source of health information, but ‘shyness’ prevented them from asking questions about menopause and they suggested that GPs need to initiate menopause-related health conversations. Conclusion: Low menopause-related health literacy among Vietnamese-born immigrant women may limit their opportunities to access information about and benefit from menopause-related health-promoting behaviours. Access to menopause-related health information in relevant community languages is essential to support immigrant women to make well informed menopause-related health decisions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEthnicity and Health
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • health care
  • health literacy
  • health promotion
  • healthy aging
  • Immigrant
  • menopause

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