Special Issue "Global Health Literacy"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Communication".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 November 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Kristine Sorensen
Website
Guest Editor
Global Health Literacy Academy, Viengevej 100, 8240 Risskov, Denmark
Interests: health literacy; global health; SDGs; qualitative research methods; conceptual frameworks; future scenario planning; co-production; public health; capacity-building
Dr. Duong Van Tuyen
Website SciProfiles
Assistant Guest Editor
School of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 11031, Taiwan.
Interests: health literacy; food literacy; dietary intake; nutritional markers; quantitative methods; evaluation of research instruments; global health; health behaviors; quality of life; metabolic syndrome; cardiovascular disease risks; stroke; type 2 diabetes; hypertension; chronic kidney disease
Dr. Andrew Pleasant
Website
Assistant Guest Editor
Health Literacy Media, St. Louis, MO 63101, USA
Interests: health literacy; health promotion; disease prevention; participatory approaches; health literacy measurement; definitions; public health; health education; cultural competency

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increased attention to the importance of health literacy for quality of life, health care, disease prevention, and health promotion has led to a growth in the global health literacy community. Health literacy plays an essential role in accelerating sustainable development, and it is of great importance that we continue to improve research, policy, practice, and education to provide a sound evidence base for the global health literacy community to build on. Additionally, we must bridge research gaps and push for a stronger theoretical foundation of health literacy.

Recognizing that health literacy is two-sided—focusing on both the individual skills as well as the competence of systems and organizations to meet people’s needs—this issue offers an opportunity to publish high-quality, interdisciplinary research reporting on topics relating to global health literacy developments from all parts of the world and within a wide range of settings. We welcome manuscripts specifically focusing on health literacy and global health, international health, SDGs, health behaviors, health outcomes, quality of life, the emergence of respiratory virus infection, noncommunicable diseases, health promotion, disease prevention, health care, health systems, health advocacy, health policy, health communication, capacity building, organizational development, co-production, interventions, cultural competency, eHealth, and innovations for future health.

Dr. Kristine Sorensen
Dr. Duong Van Tuyen
Dr. Andrew Pleasant
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Health literacy
  • Global health
  • International health
  • SDGs
  • Health behaviors
  • Health outcomes
  • Quality of life
  • The emergence of respiratory virus infection
  • Noncommunicable diseases
  • Health promotion
  • Disease prevention
  • Health care
  • Health systems
  • Health advocacy
  • Health communication
  • Capacity building
  • Co-production of health
  • eHealth
  • Future health

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Coronavirus-Related Health Literacy: A Cross-Sectional Study in Adults during the COVID-19 Infodemic in Germany
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5503; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155503 - 30 Jul 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
There is an “infodemic” associated with the COVID-19 pandemic—an overabundance of valid and invalid information. Health literacy is the ability to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information, making it crucial for navigating coronavirus and COVID-19 information environments. A cross-sectional representative study of [...] Read more.
There is an “infodemic” associated with the COVID-19 pandemic—an overabundance of valid and invalid information. Health literacy is the ability to access, understand, appraise, and apply health information, making it crucial for navigating coronavirus and COVID-19 information environments. A cross-sectional representative study of participants ≥ 16 years in Germany was conducted using an online survey. A coronavirus-related health literacy measure was developed (HLS-COVID-Q22). Internal consistency was very high (α = 0.940; ρ = 0.891) and construct validity suggests a sufficient model fit, making HLS-COVID-Q22 a feasible tool for assessing coronavirus-related health literacy in population surveys. While 49.9% of our sample had sufficient levels of coronavirus-related health literacy, 50.1% had “problematic” (15.2%) or “inadequate” (34.9%) levels. Although the overall level of health literacy is high, a vast number of participants report difficulties dealing with coronavirus and COVID-19 information. The participants felt well informed about coronavirus, but 47.8% reported having difficulties judging whether they could trust media information on COVID-19. Confusion about coronavirus information was significantly higher among those who had lower health literacy. This calls for targeted public information campaigns and promotion of population-based health literacy for better navigation of information environments during the infodemic, identification of disinformation, and decision-making based on reliable and trustworthy information. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health Literacy)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of the National Action Plan Health Literacy in Germany—Lessons Learned
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4403; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124403 - 19 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The promotion of health literacy (HL) has become an important task in public health. In response, in many countries, strategies and action plans to strengthen HL have been developed. Systematic discussion of implementation strategies of action plans on HL is scarce. This paper [...] Read more.
The promotion of health literacy (HL) has become an important task in public health. In response, in many countries, strategies and action plans to strengthen HL have been developed. Systematic discussion of implementation strategies of action plans on HL is scarce. This paper presents the implementation strategy and the methodical process of its realization of the National Action Plan HL in Germany which was published in 2018. The implementation strategy was based on considerations of implementation science and research. A process consisting of a continuum of various overlapping methodical and strategic steps of diffusion, dissemination and implementation based on collaboration and co-production was chosen. According to this, the Action Plan was widely diffused via various channels, disseminated through numerous publications and presentations, and implemented in several settings by holding workshops with stakeholders from politics, science and practice, as well as by cooperating with the Alliance for Health Literacy. This three-part collaborative and co-productive implementation strategy has helped to place HL and the National Action Plan on the health policy agenda in Germany. Experience demonstrates that implementation should be also considered, systematically planned, and addressed when developing strategies to strengthen HL. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health Literacy)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Fear of COVID-19 Scale—Associations of Its Scores with Health Literacy and Health-Related Behaviors among Medical Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4164; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17114164 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic causes fear, as its immediate consequences for the public have produced unprecedented challenges for the education and healthcare systems. We aimed to validate the fear of COVID-19 scale (FCoV-19S) and examine the association of its scores with [...] Read more.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic causes fear, as its immediate consequences for the public have produced unprecedented challenges for the education and healthcare systems. We aimed to validate the fear of COVID-19 scale (FCoV-19S) and examine the association of its scores with health literacy and health-related behaviors among medical students. A cross-sectional study was conducted from 7 to 29 April 2020 on 5423 students at eight universities across Vietnam, including five universities in the North, one university in the Center, two universities in the South. An online survey questionnaire was used to collect data on participants’ characteristics, health literacy, fear of COVID-19 using the FCoV-19S, and health-related behaviors. The results showed that seven items of the FCoV-19S strongly loaded on one component, explained 62.15% of the variance, with good item–scale convergent validity and high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha = 0.90). Higher health literacy was associated with lower FCoV-19S scores (coefficient, B, −0.06; 95% confidence interval, 95%CI, −0.08, −0.04; p < 0.001). Older age or last academic years, being men, and being able to pay for medication were associated with lower FCoV-19S scores. Students with higher FCoV-19S scores more likely kept smoking (odds ratio, OR, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.08, 1.14; p < 0.001) or drinking alcohol (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02, 1.06; p < 0.001) at an unchanged or higher level during the pandemic, as compared to students with lower FCoV-19S scores. In conclusion, the FCoV-19S is valid and reliable in screening for fear of COVID-19. Health literacy was found to protect medical students from fear. Smoking and drinking appeared to have a negative impact on fear of COVID-19. Strategic public health approaches are required to reduce fear and promote healthy lifestyles during the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health Literacy)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Generic Health Literacy Measurements for Adults: A Scoping Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 7768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217768 - 23 Oct 2020
Abstract
Background: Generic health literacy measurement (GHLM) is an important tool to identify individuals with limited health literacy and can assist the design of tailored interventions for improving public health literacy. However, there is no consensus on measuring generic health literacy. The present study [...] Read more.
Background: Generic health literacy measurement (GHLM) is an important tool to identify individuals with limited health literacy and can assist the design of tailored interventions for improving public health literacy. However, there is no consensus on measuring generic health literacy. The present study aims to review current GHLM used for adults in the literature. Methods: A scoping review was undertaken to map the available measurements designed to assess generic health literacy. Results: The review identified 19 GHLM for adults. Most of them applied a multidimensional definition of health literacy with a focus on individuals’ abilities to access, appraise, understand, and apply health information and services. Nutbeam’s conceptual model and Sørensen’s integrated model were widely used among the identified measures as the theoretical foundation. While the social determinants of health (SDH) were acknowledged in the two models, it remains unmentioned in many of the identified measures based on the Nutbeam’s model and needs further development in the measure based on the Sørensen’s model. A total of 39 different domains were assessed in the 19 measurements: prose was identified in 8 measurements and was the most prominent domain; followed by numeracy (n = 7) and interactive (n = 7). SDH related domains such as social support (n = 3), social capital (n = 1) were seldom included in the identified measurements. Conclusions: Although current GHLM adopted a multidimensional construct, they mainly focused on individuals’ abilities and SDH has not been well-developed in the assessment. Further research is required to advance the measuring of the interaction between SDH and health literacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health Literacy)
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Open AccessReview
Review of Organizational Health Literacy Practice at Health Care Centers: Outcomes, Barriers and Facilitators
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7544; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207544 - 16 Oct 2020
Abstract
The term organizational health literacy (OHL) is a new concept that emerged to address the challenge of predominantly in patients with limited health literacy (HL). There is no consensus on how OHL can improve HL activities and health outcomes in healthcare organizations. In [...] Read more.
The term organizational health literacy (OHL) is a new concept that emerged to address the challenge of predominantly in patients with limited health literacy (HL). There is no consensus on how OHL can improve HL activities and health outcomes in healthcare organizations. In this study, a systematic review of the literature was conducted to understand the evidence for the effectiveness of OHL and its health outcome, and the facilitators and barriers that influence the implementation of OHL. A literature search was done using six databases, the gray literature method and reference hand searches. Thirteen potentially articles with data on 1254 health organizations were included. Eight self-assessment tools and ten OHL attributes have been identified. Eleven quality-improvement characteristics and 15 key barriers were reviewed. Evidence on the effectiveness of HL tools provides best practices and recommendations to enhance OHL capacities. Results indicated that shifting to a comprehensive OHL would likely be a complex process because HL is not usually integrated into the healthcare organization’s vision and strategic planning. Further development of OHL requires radical, simultaneous, and multiple changes. Thus, there is a need for the healthcare system to consider HL as an organizational priority, that is, be responsive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health Literacy)
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Other

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Open AccessPerspective
Moving Health Literacy Research and Practice towards a Vision of Equity, Precision and Transparency
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7650; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17207650 - 20 Oct 2020
Abstract
Over the past two decades, health literacy research has gained increasing attention in global health initiatives to reduce health disparities. While it is well-documented that health literacy is associated with health outcomes, most findings are generated from cross-sectional data. Along with the increasing [...] Read more.
Over the past two decades, health literacy research has gained increasing attention in global health initiatives to reduce health disparities. While it is well-documented that health literacy is associated with health outcomes, most findings are generated from cross-sectional data. Along with the increasing importance of health literacy in policy, there is a lack of specificity and transparency about how to improve health literacy in practice. In this study, we are calling for a shift of current research paradigms from judging health literacy levels towards observing how health literacy skills are developed over the life course and practised in the real world. This includes using a life-course approach, integrating the rationale of precision public health, applying open science practice, and promoting actionable knowledge translation strategies. We show how a greater appreciation for these paradigms promises to advance health literacy research and practice towards an equitable, precise, transparent, and actionable vision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Health Literacy)
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