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Health Promot Int. 2001 Jun;16(2):207-14.

Health literacy: communication for the public good.

Author information

1
US Agency for International Development (USAID), Global Bureau, Center for Population, Health and Nutrition, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

This article builds upon a presentation at the Fifth Global Health Conference on Health Promotion (Mexico City, 9 June 2000), seeking to advance the development of health literacy through effective communication. First, it offers a timely reflection for health promotion epistemology in particular, and the potential approach to framing health promotion activities in general, with health literacy as a bridging concept. The concept of health literacy is briefly explained and defined, followed by identification of some promising communication interventions to diffuse health literacy. Four predominant areas within the communication field are described that shed light on approaches for developing health literacy: integrated marketing communication, education, negotiation and social capital. Each component can contribute to strategic science-based communication. Finally, the article elucidates that communication and developing health literacy are not simple solutions. Communication is not simply message repetition, but includes the development of an environment for community involvement to espouse common values of humankind. With effective communication, worldwide health literacy can become a reality in the 21st century, embodying health as a central tenet of human life.

PMID:
11356759
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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