Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952576 | Print ISBN: 9780761923602 | Online ISBN: 9781412952576| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Rima E. Rudd
Health literacy is a relatively new term that emerged in the 1990s; however, consensus has not yet been reached about its definition. For some, health literacy means the ability to function within health care settings and in relation to health materials. For others, the scope of the term health literacy is broader than a focus on the spoken or written word and includes background knowledge, scientific understanding, and/or knowledge of the human body. Still others highlight the ability to access information and to navigate institutions and services. In 1995, the Joint Committee on National Health Education Standards provided a definition that encompassed a broad range of contexts: “the capacity of individuals to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information and services and the competence to use such information and services in ways which enhance health.” Healthy People 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services document establishing health Health ...