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Improving health literacy in community populations: a review of progress

Improving health literacy in community populations: a review of progress
Improving health literacy in community populations: a review of progress

Governments around the world have adopted national policies and programs to improve health literacy. This paper examines progress in the development of evidence to support these policies from interventions to improve health literacy among community populations. Our review found only a limited number of studies (n=7) that met the criteria for inclusion, with many more influenced by the concept of health literacy but not using it in the design and evaluation. Those included were diverse in setting, population and intended outcomes. All included educational strategies to develop functional health literacy, and a majority designed to improve interactive or critical health literacy skills. Several papers were excluded because they described a protocol for an intervention, but not results, indicating that our review may be early in a cycle of activity in community intervention research. The review methodology may not have captured all relevant studies, but it provides a clear message that the academic interest and attractive rhetoric surrounding health literacy needs to be tested more systematically through intervention experimentation in a wide range of populations using valid and reliable measurement tools. The distinctive influence of the concept of health literacy on the purpose and methodologies of health education and communication is not reflected in many reported interventions at present. Evidence to support the implementation of national policies and programs, and the intervention tools required by community practitioners are not emerging as quickly as needed. This should be addressed as a matter of priority by research funding agencies.

0957-4824
901-911
Nutbeam, Don
352dc808-9160-42e7-8b52-b8cac02ad486
McGill, Bronwyn
3b03438e-41ca-46a4-95d1-ce94a81deb76
Premkumar, Pav
82d82888-6a5b-41da-bde7-f9ecc1cc0bf6
Nutbeam, Don
352dc808-9160-42e7-8b52-b8cac02ad486
McGill, Bronwyn
3b03438e-41ca-46a4-95d1-ce94a81deb76
Premkumar, Pav
82d82888-6a5b-41da-bde7-f9ecc1cc0bf6

Nutbeam, Don, McGill, Bronwyn and Premkumar, Pav (2018) Improving health literacy in community populations: a review of progress. Health promotion international, 33 (5), 901-911. (doi:10.1093/heapro/dax015).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Governments around the world have adopted national policies and programs to improve health literacy. This paper examines progress in the development of evidence to support these policies from interventions to improve health literacy among community populations. Our review found only a limited number of studies (n=7) that met the criteria for inclusion, with many more influenced by the concept of health literacy but not using it in the design and evaluation. Those included were diverse in setting, population and intended outcomes. All included educational strategies to develop functional health literacy, and a majority designed to improve interactive or critical health literacy skills. Several papers were excluded because they described a protocol for an intervention, but not results, indicating that our review may be early in a cycle of activity in community intervention research. The review methodology may not have captured all relevant studies, but it provides a clear message that the academic interest and attractive rhetoric surrounding health literacy needs to be tested more systematically through intervention experimentation in a wide range of populations using valid and reliable measurement tools. The distinctive influence of the concept of health literacy on the purpose and methodologies of health education and communication is not reflected in many reported interventions at present. Evidence to support the implementation of national policies and programs, and the intervention tools required by community practitioners are not emerging as quickly as needed. This should be addressed as a matter of priority by research funding agencies.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 28 March 2017
Published date: 1 October 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 425883
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/425883
ISSN: 0957-4824
PURE UUID: 50c03f75-9551-415e-9a36-b56d46c71672

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Date deposited: 06 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 13 Mar 2019 17:52

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