Health literacy and children: Recommendations for action

Mary Ann Abrams, Perri Klass, Benard P. Dreyer

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


    Pediatricians should advocate for increased knowledge about pediatricrelated literacy and health literacy; the role of health literacy as a social determinant of child health and mediator of child health disparities; and effective health literacy-related interventions to improve the quality of individual and population-based child health care and outcomes. To advance this agenda, the AAP should build on the work of its Health Literacy Project Advisory Committee and the national conference in November 2008 through formal initiatives that address health literacy in pediatric practice, policy, education, and research. Child health policy makers should address health literacy and its relationship to other health indicators, thereby establishing visible, measurable opportunities to elevate national awareness of the importance of health literacy and to develop interventions related to health literacy and its interaction with child health, disparities, and cultural and linguistic competence. By better understanding how to measure health literacy in children and their caregivers, we can hope to better understand the developmental trajectory of health literacy as a child grows; by better understanding the role of health literacy in transitions to self-care, we can develop more effective policy- and practice-based interventions to support the caregiverchild dyad at every stage. By better understanding the relationship between health literacy and disparities, we can hope to develop policyand practice-based interventions that will particularly support caregivers with low health literacy and thereby address those disparities. Thus, the different health literacy imperatives of researching measurements, development, and disparities, while building and testing practicebased interventions, offer a set of linked opportunities to use health literacy to explore and improve pediatric care, reduce disparities, and improve outcomes by improving care and communication.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)S327-S331
    Issue numberSUPPL. 3
    StatePublished - Nov 2009

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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