08 SES 09, Perspectives on Health Literacy
The last decade has seen considerable interest in the concept of health literacy as a way of developing public health and enabling people using skills and capacities to achieve a greater control over factors that shape health.1, 2, 3 Health literacy is a composite term to depict different dimensions of health and a range of health education outcomes.2, 3 Therefore, health literacy has been put forward as a valuable concept to develop and use in education in order to enable a learning that goes beyond the classroom, a learning that improves and supports everyday living, including the ability to make salutary healthy decisions.4
The concept of health literacy is often described as consisting of five components: theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge, critical thinking, self-awareness, and citizenship.1,2,5,6
The concept of health literacy has a lot in common with the assignment of the school subject Physical Education and Health (PEH) in Sweden, as well as in several other Western countries. Swedish steering documents note the building and developing of certain competencies in health, including interpersonal relationships and social responsibilities. According to the knowledge requirements, students should not only attain a physical competence of how to carry out a range of physical activities to ensure and/or promote their physical ability, but also develop their understanding of health. They should be able to describe, discuss, and evaluate different forms of physical activities and training with the help of “established theories” and in relation to various environmental settings.7 According to the Swedish PEH curricula, the overriding aim is to teach students knowledge of physical health and how to maintain a physically active lifestyle in a lifelong perspective.
There is a request for different methods and measures of public health interventions in the school sphere. The purpose of this action-based case study was to examine a teaching-learning model with the aim of developing health literacy among students as an educational learning outcome regarding aerobic conditioning in PEH. The more precise research questions were:
- In what way can a laboratory interactive compendium with student tasks develop students’ health literacy?
- How can students’ educational learning outcomes be assessed using this teaching-learning model?
1.St. Leger L. Schools, health literacy and public health: Possibilities and challenges. Health Promot Int. 2001;16(2):197–205. 2.Nutbeam D. Health literacy as a public health goal: A challenge for contemporary health education and communication strategies into the 21st century. Health Promot Int. 2000;15(3):259–267. 3.Nutbeam D. The evolving concept of health literacy. Soc Sci Med. Dec. 2008; 67(12):2072–2078. 4.Abel T. Measuring health literacy: Moving towards a health-promotion perspective. Int J Public Health. 2008;53:169–170. 5.Paakkari L, Paakkari O. Health literacy as a learning outcome in schools. Health Educ. 2012;112(2):133. 6.Paakkari L, Tynjälä P, Kannas L. Student teachers’ ways of experiencing the teaching of health education. Stud High Educ. Dec. 2010;35(8):905–920. 7.The Swedish National Agency for Education. Curriculum for the upper secondary school 2011. Knowledge requirements for physical education 1. Stockholm: Fritzes; 2011. 8.Stringer E. Action Research in Education, 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.; 2008:13,74,158.
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