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Article
Publication date: 23 August 2013

Michael J. Ormshaw, Leena T. Paakkari and Lasse K. Kannas

A systematic review of literature was conducted to compile, analyse and describe the methodology and measurement of childhood/adolescent health literacy.

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1867

Abstract

Purpose

A systematic review of literature was conducted to compile, analyse and describe the methodology and measurement of childhood/adolescent health literacy.

Design/methodology/approach

Six online databases (ERIC, PubMed, CINAHL, Biomed Central, Web of Science and Sports Discuss) were systematically searched to identify English language, peer‐reviewed articles, published between 1980 and April 2011, which reported on the measurement of health literacy in a population under the age of 18. The search identified 16 articles to be included in the final review, from which, data were systematically extracted in order to answer four review questions concerning several aspects of the method and effectiveness of the completed studies.

Findings

The majority (n=13) of the studies described the use of newly developed measurement tools and enquiry methods. The majority (n=14) assessed health literacy via task performance as opposed to examining self‐reported health literacy. Thirteen health topics and nine distinct components of health literacy were identified as being scrutinised by the 16 articles. Examination of the intended measurement aims of each study, in comparison with the actual measurement methods revealed that six studies fully succeeded in examining what they intended to measure. It is concluded that even though research in this field is escalating, clear definitions and measurement methods of childhood health literacy must be developed in order to effectively expand the field further and comprehensively assess childhood health literacy.

Originality/value

This review is to our knowledge the first to collate and examine studies concentrating solely on the measurement of health literacy in a child and/or adolescent population.

Details

Health Education, vol. 113 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Zuzana Boberova, Leena Paakkari, Ivan Ropovik and Jozef Liba

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the findings of an intervention program built on the concept of children’s health literacy, particularly on its citizenship…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the findings of an intervention program built on the concept of children’s health literacy, particularly on its citizenship component. This intervention program employed the Investigation-Vision-Action-Change model for action-oriented teaching, where children were supported to investigate different health issues that affect them, create visions about desirable changes, and act toward desirable change. The intervention was implemented in the conditions of a post-communist country (Slovakia) where the majority of health education programs are behaviorally oriented, without giving space to children’s own perceptions and decisions. The study seeks to explore whether fostering children’s participation in forming the school environment improves the three selected factors of school well-being, namely, children’s perception of school, their subjective well-being, and violent behavior in school.

Design/methodology/approach

A cluster-randomized controlled trial design was used where ten classes of children aged nine to ten years were randomly assigned to either experimental (n=89) or control group (n=96). The dependent variables were pre- and post-tested using measures drawn from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study for Slovakia.

Findings

The intervention program was shown to yield empirically robust effects, given the significant improvement in children’s perceptions about school, violent behavior, and their well-being, with medium-to-large effect sizes (Hedges’s g ranging from 0.74 to 0.96).

Originality/value

The present study offers an effective approach to enhance the respect for the children’s views on issues that affect them, particularly within post-communist conditions.

Details

Health Education, vol. 117 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Olli Paakkari, Minna Torppa, Jari Villberg, Lasse Kannas and Leena Paakkari

The purpose of this paper is to explore Finnish adolescents’ subjective health literacy (HL) in association to school achievement, learning difficulties, educational…

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1078

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore Finnish adolescents’ subjective health literacy (HL) in association to school achievement, learning difficulties, educational aspirations, and family affluence.

Design/methodology/approach

Nationally representative data were collected in Finland as a part of the international Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study. The respondents consisted in total of 3,833 adolescents (7th and 9th graders) from 359 schools. The Health Literacy for School-aged Children instrument was applied to measure adolescents’ subjective HL, while the Family Affluence Scale was used to measure adolescents’ socioeconomic status. Information was gathered on school achievement, learning difficulties, and educational aspirations.

Findings

Approximately one-third of the adolescents manifested a high level of HL, around 60 per cent had a moderate level of HL, and about one-tenth had low HL. The HL level was lower for boys than for girls, and lower for 7th graders than for 9th graders. In the total sample, the strongest explanatory variables for HL were school achievement in the first language, and educational aspirations.

Originality/value

This study provides the first nationally representative examination of adolescents’ subjective HL levels, and how these vary across age and gender groups. In drawing conclusions and presenting suggestions for HL interventions, it is important to verify the nature of the HL examined in any given study, and how it was researched.

Details

Health Education, vol. 118 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 February 2012

Leena Paakkari and Olli Paakkari

The aim of this paper is to define health literacy as a learning outcome in schools, and to describe the learning conditions that are relevant for targeting health literacy.

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3196

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to define health literacy as a learning outcome in schools, and to describe the learning conditions that are relevant for targeting health literacy.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on theoretical and empirical educational literature, and also the experiences of the authors.

Findings

Health literacy is defined as consisting of five core components: theoretical knowledge, practical knowledge, critical thinking, self‐awareness, and citizenship. The first three components are rather similar to the commonly‐accepted health literacy concept, but the definition given in this paper expands the concept via two additional – but essential – components. It is emphasized that when one is aiming to develop students' internal capacity to construct their own meanings regarding health topics, these two additional components are called for. The paper argues that one of the main aims of health teaching in schools should be to foster students' ability to define their own beliefs, identity and social relations. Moreover, if it is desired that students should become responsible citizens, acting in an ethically responsible way, competencies such as ethical reflection skills should be developed in schools. The paper also highlights the fact that the development of certain health literacy components calls for particular kinds of learning conditions.

Originality/value

The paper identifies the core components of health literacy as a learning outcome and gives practical examples of means to achieve a particular target.

Details

Health Education, vol. 112 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-4283

Keywords

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