About Health Literacy

Health Literacy News & Highlights

Health for a Lifetime | State Obesity Prevention Plan

Over the last two decades, many states have seen a steady rise in obesity rates, including Oklahoma. Across the nation, 31.9% of the adult population are considered obese compared to 36.4% of adults in Oklahoma, which equates to approximately one million adults in our state’s population having obesity.

In 2019, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) engaged in a year-long process, bringing to the table partners from across the state to develop a State Obesity Plan.

“The plan focuses on strategies for each age group which can make a direct impact on the environment contributing to chronic health conditions, with a particular focus on obesity,” said Fahad Khan, Director of Community Analysis. “While the plan was coordinated by OSDH, it will take all partners working together to accomplish the goals and objectives set forth to achieve Governor Kevin Stitt’s goal of being a top 10 state.”

While personal responsibility will always be a component of weight management, the plan aims to identify environmental changes which will make it easier for all Oklahomans to choose to be healthier, and to encourage healthy habits and behaviors. This plan also aims to put resources and education in the hands of Oklahomans so the decisions they make can be well informed, but also supported by the environment in which they live.

Read the Press Release.

View the full prevention plan (PDF).

2022 Wellness County Profiles Now Available

The 2022 Wellness County Profiles consist of Oklahoma maps (updated maps as well as new maps) and county dashboards which include data around the social determinants of health (SDoH), health outcomes, 4-5-61 concept (4 behaviors that lead to 5 chronic conditions that cause 61% of all deaths), area deprivation index, child opportunity index and life expectancy.

Additionally, the 2022 Inequity Hot Spot files consist of inequity hot spot maps, census tract and block group data and associated maps that will help you identify at-risk or high-risk areas in your county that could be hotspots for adverse health outcomes and low life expectancy due to social and economic deprivation.

The files were developed to understand the level of influence SDoH have in communities and to prioritize the investment of resources and service delivery in the truly high-risk areas/socially disadvantaged neighborhoods.

View Wellness County Profiles and Inequity Hot Spots.

Chef Crystal Wahpepah Demonstration at the Kickapoo Tribal Health Center

Chef Crystal Wahpepah gave a cooking demonstration at the Kickapoo Tribal Health Center in McLoud Oklahoma on April 5, 2022.

Chef Crystal shared her craft using in-season traditional Native ingredients. Chef Crystal is the owner of the popular Oakland, CA restaurant Wahpepah's Kitchen, and was the first Native American chef to appear on Food Network's Chopped.

Check out this condensed video of the program on YouTube.

Altus Unveils New Story Walk

The City of Altus unveiled their brand new story walk. The story walk is at Hightower Park on Park Lane, right next to Altus High School.

It’s been in the works for a long time and was made possible by a partnership between the Altus parks and recreation department, the Altus Library and the Southern Prairie Library System.

“The goal is to get the community out, it’s part of our early literacy effort in the library system, it’s part of our health literacy effort with the great plains literacy council,” said Kathy Hale from the Southern Prairie Library System.

“Also in between each pedestal we have fun little chalked events like hopscotch and lily pads so it also works for promoting health and healthy living,” said Michael Shive from Altus Parks and Recreation.

View the news at the KSWO.com.


Chickasha Public Library Walking Challenge

Chickasha Walking ChallengeThe Walking Challenge Chapter 2 kicked off January 1st. The Libray is rechallenging the community to walk the distance around the world! They are tracking their steps and the goal is to collectively walk 49,802,000 steps. See how far they have made it so far.

Individuals set goals to increase their steps each month. Each month participants report their steps and are added to a drawing. The walking challenge is a fun way to increase daily activity. Take a walk around a park, walk on your treadmill, or walk around your home. Every step counts!

The Chickasha Public Library's Walking Challenge program and other Health Literacy programs are funded through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

More about this venture at the Chickasha Public Library website.

Blanchard Public Library Edible Flower and Vegetable Garden

The Lujan family thinned and weeded the little garden at the Blanchard Public Library. Home Depot provided them with seeds. The Blanchard Library sent 26 families a variety package of seeds. They also made up baggies that customers can take that contain a variety of seeds and provided a huge paper bag full of seeds to a local home school organization to distribute. They were given flowers, herbs and veggie seeds.

The Blanchard Library hopes to offer an herb program later this fall, once programming begins again.


Story Walk Ribbon-Cutting in Chickasha

Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley and kids helped the Chickasha Public Library kickoff their story walk program with a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 1st. After reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle participates were able to play games and the children who attended also received a free health-themed book.

The Chickasha Parks Department installed the story walk displayers, and the Chickasha Public Library purchased the wood posts, the displayer frames were purchased using a Health Literacy Grant through the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Funds for the books were provided by local organizations, the Friends of the Chickasha Public Library, AAUW, Altrusa, Lions Club, and PEO Chapter FV.

Story Walk in Anadarko

State Representative David Perryman gives the Anadarko Community Library a $4,000.00 check from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries and Institute of Museum and Library Services which is paid for with State and Federal Funding.

Thanks to a health literacy grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Anadarko Community Library is proud to announce the new story walk in Randlett Park.

See more about the story walk grand-opening event.

City of Miami becomes Certified Healthy Business

Congratulations to the City of Miami! They have met the criteria to become a Certified Healthy Business. Certified Healthy Business recognizes business sites that make a positive impact on the health of employees and patrons. Your contribution in creating a healthy environment is important to the future of Oklahoma.

There are three levels of certification: Basic, Merit and Excellence.  City of Miami earned the Excellence certification!

Stillwater Public Library's Story Walk 

The Stillwater Public Library celebrated National Health Literacy Month with a groundbreaking for their story walk in the Park program. Funds for this project are provided by Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered through Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

“Story Walk in the Park is a way for children and adults to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time,” said Lynda Reynolds, library director. “The concept is simple. Place bright and engaging pages of a must-read picture book along a path and people will stop to read as they walk. Not only does it encourage walkers to read, but it also encourages readers to walk.”

The story walk will be completed and open for reading in March 2018. The City of Stillwater Parks and Recreation and Operations staff will be installing the posts around the walking trail that snakes through the park. See more on the story [....]

Hula Hoops are Not Just for Kids Anymore

Hula HoopingExercise coach Kelsey Philo demonstrated using hula hoops as a low impact, fun way to exercise. Participants visited the Champion Public Library in Ardmore to learn a new way to exercise. “Hooping helps adults maintain spinal mobility as well as center of balance, not to mention a workout of core muscles,” said project director Pam Bean with Southern Oklahoma Library System. “This is just one way our health literacy program is encouraging community members to exercise, eat right, and enjoy life.” Hula hoop expert, Kelssy Philo (right), demonstrated extreme hooping to children at the Moore Public Library. She explained that hooping exercises the body and reading exercises the mind. The project was made possible thanks to a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.


Background information

Medical symbols

What is Health Literacy? Health Literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, Title V

The American Medical Association Foundation has said poor health literacy is a stronger predictor of a person’s health than his age, socioeconomic status, education, or ethnicity.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, persons with limited literacy skills are more likely to have chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or asthma and are less likely to manage them effectively.

The Institute for Medicine’s Board of Neuroscience and Health has found that adults need basic health literacy skills to speak with medical professionals, access health information, follow dosage instructions, make informed health decisions, and to use medical tools for personal and family health care.

See Health Literacy Fact Sheet.


To contact staff of the Literacy Resource Office, use ODL's Staff Contact Form or Office Contact Form.