Health literacy is vital to active and informed healthcare issues and is identified as a key action to reduce health inequalities within the European Union. In this context the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published a paper providing rapid review of the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve health literacy.
The ECDC report focuses on communicable diseases and interventions for disadvantaged populations within the European region. The review identifies and synthesises five evidence reviews, published between 2000 and 2010 on effective strategies for improving health literacy.
It was found that most of the interventions identified focus on the functional level of health literacy, i.e. they work at the traditional health education level while there are few interventions targeting the interactive or critical levels of health literacy. The review also highlighted the current lack of research concerning the health literacy of disadvantaged and hard-to-reach populations.
The report concludes that further research is needed on the impact of health literacy interventions in the public health field, in particular evaluating communication about communicable diseases, and determining the most effective strategies to meet the needs of population groups with low literacy levels, and those who are disadvantaged and hard-to-reach.
For further information
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