Health literacy revisited : what do we mean and why does it matter?

Peerson, Anita and Saunders, Margo 2009, Health literacy revisited : what do we mean and why does it matter?, Health promotion international, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 285-296, doi: 10.1093/heapro/dap014.

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Title Health literacy revisited : what do we mean and why does it matter?
Author(s) Peerson, Anita
Saunders, Margo
Journal name Health promotion international
Volume number 24
Issue number 3
Start page 285
End page 296
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2009-09
ISSN 0957-4824
Keyword(s) health literacy
medical literacy
Summary ‘Health literacy’ refers to accessing, understanding and using information to make health decisions. However, despite its introduction into the World Health Organization's Health Promotion Glossary, the term remains a confusing concept. We consider various definitions and measurements of health literacy in the international and Australian literature, and discuss the distinction between the broader concept of ‘health literacy’ (applicable to everyday life) and ‘medical literacy’ (related to individuals as patients within health care settings). We highlight the importance of health literacy in relation to the health promotion and preventive health agenda. Because health literacy involves knowledge, motivation and activation, it is a complex thing to measure and to influence. The development of health literacy policies will be facilitated by better evidence on the extent, patterns and impact of low health literacy, and what might be involved in improving it. However, the current lack of consensus of definitions and measurement of health literacy will first need to be overcome.
Notes Advance Access originally published online on April 16, 2009
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/heapro/dap014
Field of Research 111712 Health Promotion
Socio Economic Objective 970110 Expanding Knowledge in Technology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID NHMRC 400391
HERDC collection year 2009
Copyright notice ©2009, Oxford University Press
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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