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Article

International Understandings of Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence—A Qualitative-Explorative Analysis of Global Expert Interviews

1
Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Literacy Research, Faculty of Educational Science, Bielefeld University, Konsequenz 41a, 33615 Bielefeld, Germany
2
Global Health Literacy Academy, Viengevej 100, 8240 Risskov, Denmark
3
Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Technical University Munich, Uptown München-Campus D, Georg-Brauchle-Ring 60/62, 80092 Munich, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gabriel Gulis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(3), 1591; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031591
Received: 10 December 2021 / Revised: 26 January 2022 / Accepted: 28 January 2022 / Published: 30 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Collection Global Health Literacy)
(1) Background: With regard to children and adolescents, health literacy should only not be understood as an individual ability, but rather as dependent based on its contextual determinants. The study examines how experts define health literacy in childhood and adolescence and discusses whether they include these factors. (2) Methods: In 48 interviews with experts from 32 countries, specific questions for defining health literacy in childhood and adolescence were analyzed. Data analysis was conducted according to the summary of the qualitative content analysis. Main categories and subcategories were developed exploratively and inductively. (3) Results: No expert had an official definition of health literacy in childhood or adolescence. There were more experts who located health literacy only at the individual level alone than those who located it at both the individual and contextual levels. On the individual level, there was a focus on information processing, knowledge, behavior, and skills. At the contextual level, system responsibility, the ability of others, and relationship between age and development were the main points. (4) Conclusions: To develop an adequate method of dealing with health literacy in the target group, there must be a target group-specific consideration of the dependencies, ages, and developmental stages of that group. While this is considered as consensus in scientific discourse, it has seemingly not yet been adopted in development-related policies internationally. View Full-Text
Keywords: definition of health literacy; childhood and adolescence; global experts; social determinants; policy; contextual level; individual level definition of health literacy; childhood and adolescence; global experts; social determinants; policy; contextual level; individual level
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schulenkorf, T.; Sørensen, K.; Okan, O. International Understandings of Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence—A Qualitative-Explorative Analysis of Global Expert Interviews. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 1591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031591

AMA Style

Schulenkorf T, Sørensen K, Okan O. International Understandings of Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence—A Qualitative-Explorative Analysis of Global Expert Interviews. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(3):1591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031591

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schulenkorf, Tessa, Kristine Sørensen, and Orkan Okan. 2022. "International Understandings of Health Literacy in Childhood and Adolescence—A Qualitative-Explorative Analysis of Global Expert Interviews" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 3: 1591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19031591

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