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School-based health literacy programs for children (2-16 years): An international review


Nash, R and Patterson, K and Flittner, A and Elmer, S and Osborne, R, School-based health literacy programs for children (2-16 years): An international review, Journal of School Health, 91, (8) pp. 632-649. ISSN 0022-4391 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2021 American School Health Association

DOI: doi:10.1111/josh.13054


Background: Health literacy impacts children’s health and educational attainment, therefore determining the most appropriate pedagogical design is critical. The long-term health benefits of health literacy for each child’s life-course further justifies this imperative. School-based health literacy programs are of interest internationally.

Methods: Authors brainstormed the search terms and established inclusion/exclusion criteria for the systematised review. Two databases (CINAHL, ERIC) were searched following PRISMA guidelines. Three authors screened and sorted the findings.

Results: Twenty one relevant studies were identified from 629. Few (6/21) studies were situated in the primary school setting.

Discussion: This review found a variety of project designs, evaluation methods, and conceptual models. Descriptive analysis of the final 21 papers highlighted the importance of multicomponent design (whole-of-school and curriculum), cross-curricula integration, professional development for teachers, age of children, role of parents, and role of community. The results of this analysis may usefully inform primary school program design in the future.

Conclusion: Schools provide a logical setting for health literacy development. Despite the evidence that adolescence is too late, few studies have been situated in primary schools. Teachers lack confidence to teach health and need ongoing professional development. Parent, child and community voices are essential for sustained engagement and program success.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:HealthLit4Kids, health literacy, health education, schools, elementary school, primary school
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Public health
Research Field:Health promotion
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Evaluation of health and support services
Objective Field:Health education and promotion
UTAS Author:Nash, R (Dr Rosie Nash)
UTAS Author:Patterson, K (Dr Kira Patterson)
UTAS Author:Flittner, A (Miss Anna Flittner)
ID Code:143188
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:13
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2021-03-04
Last Modified:2022-01-11
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