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A snapshot across Europe: policies, interventions and actions on health literacy improvement in Europe uncovered in the HEALIT4EU study.

Rademakers, J.J.D.J.M., Hofstede, J., Heide, I. van der, Devillé, W., Heijmans, M. A snapshot across Europe: policies, interventions and actions on health literacy improvement in Europe uncovered in the HEALIT4EU study. European Journal of Public Health: 2015, 25(spl. 3) 44-45. Abstract: 8th European Public Health Conference: "Health in Europe - from global to local policies, methods and practices". 14-17 oktober 2015 in Milan.
In a recent EU study (HEALIT4EU) evidence-based interventions and policies and programs to improve health literacy in European Member States were inventoried. From a systematic literature review we learned that evidence-based interventions of which the effectiveness is studied are virtually lacking in Europe. Only 20 studies could be retrieved. Nevertheless, health literacy as a policy topic has gained attention in the European Member States during recent years, especially in Western Europe and countries that were involved in the HLSEU study. In our study, 82 programmes and activities on health literacy in Europe were identified. In many countries, however, the concept of health literacy has not ‘caught on’ yet. In general, most countries are still in the early stages of addressing health literacy. Only six European Member States actually have a national policy or programme on health literacy. Initiatives in countries are often fragmented, largely depending on specific stakeholders, good will and enthusiastic initiatives and accidental funding. This can result in less effective use of means and fewer exchange of knowledge and ‘best practices’ as desirable. In general, a more programmatic and evidence-based policy to health literacy in EU Member States will be beneficial with regard to the outcomes of these efforts. (aut. ref.)