Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: August 17, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959216 | Print ISBN: 9781412959209 | Online ISBN: 9781412959216| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The concept of health literacy initially emerged and continues to gain strength as an approach to improving health status and health systems because numerous research studies clearly link low levels of education and literacy with poor health and early death around the world. Health literacy is a key component of the complex relationship between knowledge, attitudes, behavior, and health outcomes from the individual to the societal level. For example, a health literate person is able to improve individual health decision making and reap benefits from healthier lifestyle choices. In addition, a health literate individual is more aware of the social, economic, and environmental determinants of health and is more prepared to engage in individual and collective actions that can improve the status of those determinants. Health literacy is increasingly applicable and relevant to practice within health care and health research systems around the world. Most of the major advances in ...