08 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Session
General Poster Session
Health literacy has regained momentum and increasing attention in- and outside the scientific community over the last years. With regard to individuals, populations and even on a system-level, health literacy has been acknowledged to be both a social determinant of health and a promising target for interventions not only to effectively implement disease treatment but also to promote health and prevent diseases . Similar to the meaning of its ingredients health and literacy, it is hardly possible to come to a universal definition of what the composite term health literacy means. Though it can basically be defined, there is a wide range of definitions reflecting the arenas where it has been negotiated and the purposes for which it has been used [2,3]. Screening of literature indicates that much of research into health literacy has happened in health care focusing on the patient-provider interaction . This might have contributed to a biased perception of the meaning and the possible applications of health literacy.
Over the last years, efforts to re-define and re-conceptualize health literacy have resulted in formulations that extend the meaning of health literacy to dimensions other than functional competencies or the patient population [2,5]. According to the European Health Literacy Project e.g. , health literacy is understood as to encompass people’s knowledge, motivation and competences to access, understand, appraise and apply health information in order to make judgments and take decisions in everyday life concerning healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion to maintain or improve quality of life during the life course. The HLS-EU conceptual model integrated main dimensions of health literacy with its proximal and distal determinants and the pathways linking health literacy to health outcomes. The recent conceptual developments have resulted in a re-emerged interest in health literacy, presumably because they enabled to consider health literacy as a promising target for health promotion and primary prevention. Other reasons might be that the broadened understanding of health literacy allows for integrating both behavioral and contextual factors, can be linked to related approaches from e.g. social epidemiology or socialization research [6,7,8], and equally addresses a range of social and life skills or motivational aspects that are beyond the functional dimensions.
When it comes to health promotion and primary prevention, children and adolescents are undisputedly a highly relevant target group. It is well documented that the efforts to promote health and primary prevention are highly effective and sustainable when they can effectively be implemented during childhood and adolescence. Screening of scientific literature however reveals that children and adolescents have poorly been included into health literacy research. Gaps encompass e.g. prevalence data, definitions, concepts and models refined for different age groups, the formulation of needs of and demands on health literacy for children and adolescents, or for adult people who impact on child health. The relatively small body of available literature on health literacy in childhood and adolescence highlights the relevance of and need for ongoing research activities [9,10]. To understand and appraise the role of health literacy in childhood and adolescence, an even broader perspective is required. A comprehensive approach needs to equally look at the health literacy of adults and social institutions with significant impact on the child’s personality development and socialization processes (caregiver, parents, and professionals such as educators, teachers, or provider of children’s healthcare, health promotion and prevention). Here, we present the German “Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence - HLCA” consortium that was launched in 2013 in order to meet the needs for research as outline above.
1. World Health Organization (WHO). (2013). Health Literacy: The Solid Facts. Kickbusch I., Pelikan J.M:, Apfel F. & Tsouros A.E. (eds). WHO Europe, Copenhagen. 2. Sørensen K, Van den Broucke S, Fullam J, Doyle G, Pelikan J, Slonska Z et al. (2012). Health literacy and public health: a systematic review and integration of definitions and model. BMC Public Health, 12, 80. 3. Sørensen K, Brand H. (2013). Health literacy lost in translations? Introducing the European Health Literacy Glossary. Health promotion international. 4. Institute of Medicine (IOM). (2004). Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. 5. Freedman DA, Bess KD, Tucker HA, Boyd DL, Tuchman AM, Wallston KA. (2009). Public health literacy defined. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(5), 446-451. 6. Singh-Manoux A, Marmot M. (2005). Role of socialization in explaining social inequalities in health. SocSci Med. 60(9):2129-33. 7. Bauer U, Bittlingmayer UH, Richter M. (eds.). (2008). Health Inequalities. Determinanten und Mechanismen gesundheitlicher Ungleichheit. Wiesbaden. Springer VS. [German] 8. Bauer U. (2013). Sozialisation und Ungleichheit. Eine Hinführung. 2. Überarb. Aufl., Wiesbaden. Springer VS. [German] 9. Borzekowski DLG. (2009.) Considering children and health literacy: a theorectical approach. Pediatrics. 124: S282–8. 10. DeWalt DA, Hink A. (2009). Health literacy and child health outcomes: a systematic review of the literature. Pediatrics. 124(supple 3): S265-S274.
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