08 SES 09, Perspectives on Health Literacy
According to World Health Organization (2013) we live in a health literacy crisis. The crisis is caused by the mismatch between the claims that the societies have imposed to people for taking care of their health and that of the others, and the skills that people possess. These days the management of health information and provided health care systems are more challenging, and the same time people are faced with even greater challenges for the maintenance of health. Similarly, societies have not been able to provide the kind of instruction and guidance that support the development of sufficient competence (World Health Organization, 2013). Thus, it is not surprising that health literacy of the population has been named as one of the key global health promotion goals and objectives (Wharf Higgins, 2012; see also Nutbeam, 2000; Tassi, 2004). Concurrently, it is not surprising that the development of children’s health literacy has been emphasized; in childhood the foundations for health and wellbeing throughout the lifespan are built (cf. World Health Organization, 1997).
Recent research shows that the level of health literacy in Europe is worryingly low. "The European health literacy Project" (HSL-EU Consortium, 2012) measured health literacy in eight European countries, and revealed that the participants showed limited health literacy. This situation is alarming due to number of negative consequences that inadequate health literacy has on both individual and societal level. Inadequate health literacy has been found to be a clear and independent risk factor for poor health (Volandes & Paashe-Orlow, 2007). Health literacy is also known to explain people's health habits, quality of life and health inequalities (Berkman et al., 2011, Brown et al, 2007, Sharif & Blank, 2010, Sun et al., 2013). Berkman et al. (2011) showed in their systematic review that there is a clear link between low health literacy and the ability to interpret health-related information and the incorrect use of medicines, to mention some. Poor health literacy at population level increases health care costs of the society (Howard et al, 2005; Kickbusch, 2008).
Interest in the development and the measuring of health literacy has increased in recent years. At the moment broad population-level health literacy measurements are mainly directed at adults (e.g. the European Health literacy survey), whereas tools for examining children’s health literacy are rare (Ormshaw et al, 2013). However, the development of health literacy across lifespan requires its measuring and monitoring in all age groups (World Health Organization, 2013). Similarly, it is important to identify and to increase an understanding of what factors explain children’s health literacy, and how health literacy is related to children’s’ perceived health and health behaviour.
The aim of this research is
- to develop a tool to measure school-aged children’s self-reported (i.e. subjective, perceived) health literacy
- to examine children’s self-reported health literacy
- to study the association between self-reported health literacy, and perceived health and self-reported health behaviour
The presentation will focus on describing (i) the development of the health literacy instrument and (ii) research design to examine the association between the health literacy, and perceived health and health behaviour.
Berkman, N. D., Sheridan, S. L., Donahue, K. E., Halpern, D. J., & Crotty, K. (2011). Low health literacy and health outcomes: an updated systematic review. Annals of Internal Medicine, 155(2), 97-107. Brown, S. L., Teufel J. A, & Birch, D. A. (2007). Early adolescents perceptions of health and health literacy. Journal of School Health, 77(1), 7-15. HLS-EU consortium (2012). Comparative report of health literacy in eight EU member states: The European health literacy survey HLS-EU , online publication, HTTP://WWW.HEALTH-LITERACY.EU Howard, D. H., Gazmararian, J., & Parker, R. M. (2005). The impact of low health literacy on the medical costs of Medicare managed care enrollees. The American journal of medicine, 118(4), 371-377. Kickbusch, I. (2008). Health literacy: an essential skill for the twenty-first century. Health Education, 108(2), 101-104. Nutbeam, D. (2000). Health literacy as a public health goal: a challenge for contemporary health education and communication strategies into the 21st century. Health promotion international, 15(3), 259-267. Ormshaw, M., Paakkari, L., & Kannas L. (2013). Measuring child and adolescent health literacy: a systematic review. Health Education, 113(5), 433-455. Paakkari, L. & Paakkari, O. (2012). Health literacy as a learning outcome in schools. Health Education, 112(2), 133-152. Sharif, I. & Blank, A. E. (2010). Relationship between child health literacy and body mass index in overweight children. Patient education and counseling, 79(1), 43-48. Schwarzer, R. & Fuchs, R. (1995). Self-efficacy and health behaviour. Teoksessa M. Conner & P. Norman (toim.) Predicting health behavior. Buckingham: Open University Press, 163-196. Sun, X., Shi, Y., Zeng, Q., Wang, Y., Du, W., Wei, N., & Chang, C. (2013). Determinants of health literacy and health behavior regarding infectious respiratory diseases: a pathway model. BMC public health, 13(1), 261 (online) Retrieved from: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/261 Tassi, A. (2004). The emergence of health literacy as a public policy priority: from research to consensus to action. Literacy Harvest, 11(1), 5-10. Volandes, A. E. & Paasche-Orlow, M. K. (2007). Health literacy, health inequality and a just healthcare system. The American Journal of Bioethics, 7(11), 5-10. Wharf-Higgins, J. (2012). Preface: A health literacy syllabus. Teoksessa R. Marks (toim.) Health literacy and school-based health education. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, xi-xvi. World Health Organization (1997). Promoting health through schools: A Report of a WHO expert committee on comprehensive school health education and promotion- WHO Technical Report Series 870. Geneva. World Health Organization (2013). Health literacy: Solid facts. Copenhagen.
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