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

Author Name: 
Peerson A and Saunders M. 2009
Publication Date: 
Monday, March 16, 2009
The importance of both motivation and activation mean that health literacy is a very complex thing to measure and to influence. ‘Health literacy’ refers to accessing, understanding and using information to make health decisions. However, despite its introduction into the WHO’s Health Promotion Glossary, the term remains a confusing concept. These Australian authors consider various definitions and measurements of health literacy in the international 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). They highlight the importance of health literacy in relation to the health promotion and preventive health agenda. The development of health literacy policies will be facilitated by better evidence on the extent, patterns and impact of low health literacy, (Martin J. 2013)