A healthcare professional showing a child an iPad

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You may be asking yourself, “What is health literacy, and what in the world is a health literacy hero?” In short, health literacy happens only when a patient (and/or caregiver), and a health care provider truly understand one another; when there are no lingering doubts and no questions left unspoken or unanswered. In reality, there are many obstacles that interfere with this communication, including literacy skills, age, disability, language, culture, and emotional state. Health literacy skills help patients and/or caregivers know what healthy lifestyle choices to make, how to participate in treatment decisions and follow medial instructions, and how to ask the necessary questions and get clear understandable answers.

According to Health Literacy Consultant and Health Literacy Month Founder Helen Osborne, who recently visited Boston Children’s Hospital, heath literacy heroes are individuals, teams, and organizations who identify health literacy problems and act to solve them. Whether you are a patient, a caregiver, a researcher, or a health care professional, you too can be a Health Literacy Hero! Learn more about health literacy at www.healthliteracy.com, and the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality (AHRQ). In addition, our Database of Research contains many scholarly articles that explore the links between health literacy, media, and youth.

Adolescent health literacy

  • This cross-sectional survey study concludes that adolescents exposed to credible health care information have higher health literacy skills.

Media health literacy

  • Over 1,300 teens were surveyed in this correlational study, concluding that media health literacy in teens directly relates to better health care choices and behaviors.

Inaccurate Internet health information impacts high school students

  • Students need help to develop critical evaluation skills when using the internet as a health information source.

eHealth literacy

  • In this correlational study in a classroom setting, researchers determined that middle school students’ eHealth literacy skills are not affected by approval from others or peer group influences, but by their own personal beliefs (norms) about using the internet to gather health information.

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