Health literacy is an important determinant of health, and is one of the key indicators of a healthy city. Developing and improving methods to measure health literacy is prudent and necessary. This review summarizes the findings of published tools for assessing health literacy among the general population to provide a reference for establishing health literacy assessment tools in the future. In this systematic review, PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science were used to search articles regarding tools for assessing health literacy among the general population published up to 10 January 2018. Two researchers independently conducted literature screening, quality assessment of methodology, and data extraction according to preset inclusion and exclusion criteria. The quality assessment of the research was examined with the use of the specifications of the reporting guidelines for survey research (SURGE). Eleven articles met the inclusion criteria. All included instruments in monitoring the health literacy of the general population were presented through the form of questionnaires. The multistage process of making all the scales generally involved the following steps: item development, pre-testing, and evaluation of readability. However, the specific methods were different. Internal consistency for all the instruments was acceptable but with weak consistency among the subscales for some instruments. Most of the identified instruments derived from the definition of health literacy or were based on existing health literacy theory. Approximately 30% of the performed studies provided no description of the important features specified in the SURGE. This review indicates a trend in the increasing tools for assessing the health literacy of the general population by using multidimensional structures and comprehensive measurement approaches. However, no clear “consensus” was observed in the dimensions of health literacy tools.
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