273142 Health literacy and public health among adolescents and young adults: Opportunities and challenges of a developmental lifecourse approach

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Laura Shone, DrPH, MSW , University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
Adolescents (ages 10-24 years) represent more than 25% of the population worldwide and they face great health challenges; their health trajectories shaping individual and public health for tomorrow's individuals, families, and communities. Health literacy is beginning to be examined from a lifecourse perspective, yet much of our existing knowledge comes from studies in adults. There is growing interest in health literacy on the cusp of adulthood - among still-developing adolescents. Health literacy in the context of (cognitive) development represents both challenges and opportunities: challenges in defining what health literacy means in a developmental context; challenges in measurement during a time of rapid cognitive and social- emotional growth; and challenges in understanding what types of interventions could be both developmentally appropriate and effective. On the other hand, we have opportunities as well. We can examine how health literacy develops; and use modeling, teachback, and rehearsal while teens are still connected to parents, clinicians and education systems. We can develop and test interventions that can prepare young people to self-manage their health, navigate our complex health system, navigate their own decisions about health and risk behaviors, and ideally improve their health-related skills, experiences, and health outcomes throughout the lifecourse. This paper presents a state-of-the art review of health literacy among 10-24 year-old adolescents and young adults in the context of medicine and public health, and will highlight the distinct challenges and opportunities of considering health literacy in a developmental lifecourse context.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Identify the differences and similarities of HL among 10-24 year-olds (cognitive development) vs. older adults (cognitive decline). Assess the state of current knowledge. Identify 2-3 gaps in knowledge about health literacy among adolescents and young adults. Explain the challenges and opportunities of exploring HL in this younger age group. Formulate a potential interventions or strategies to improve health literacy in this age group. Discuss the implementation and impact of these interventions for public health at individual, system, and community levels.

Keywords: Patient Education, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of two federally funded grants focusing on adolescent/young adult health literacy (including the first to be funded for this age group). I have expertise in health services, public health and policy from over 10 years of research including lead investigator on studies of disparities, and of adolescent access to, use of, and outcomes of care.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.