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ERIC Number: EJ871050
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jan
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
Towards a Health Literacy Curriculum
Novitzky, Jan
Adults Learning, v20 n5 p28-29 Jan 2009
The health and wellbeing agenda is gaining momentum. Most recently, a major review of the curriculum for England's primary schools suggested that "wellbeing, happiness and healthy living" could be one of six broad areas of learning to replace individual subjects. Health literacy is one component of the health and wellbeing agenda and this has been acknowledged in the Department of Health's inequalities strategy, published in 2008. But what is health literacy and what does a health literacy curriculum look like? A broad conception of health literacy suggests the need to develop health literacy curricula rather than a single curriculum, and would require inclusion in professional training for health practitioners, as well as inclusion within community education, skills and health education. An emerging element of health literacy is the promotion of a healthy workforce. The current policy rationale supports not only the health agenda but also aims to deliver a more motivated and, ultimately, more productive workforce. Approaches to building a healthy workforce include the development of quality kite-marks for employers, such as the "Mindful Employer" initiative; the development of employer awards to promote best practice, such as the Healthy Workplaces Award; and the development of courses such as "Mental First Aid" and the Department of Health pilot "Self Care" programme. Advancing health literacy requires multi-sector partnerships. No single sector has the range of resources to launch comprehensive health literacy interventions. A partnership approach is critical for no less reason than identifying funding to deliver a health literacy curriculum. The challenges of developing multi-sector partnerships are not insubstantial, and include lack of shared language, lack of a clear evidence base for the design of curricula, and politicking over resources. Further, public health commissioners do not always see learning as a valid area for funding through health improvement monies. However, only a closer relationship at local, regional and national levels between the health and education sectors will resolve this issue. The challenge, the author argues, is for health and education providers to recognise their mutual agendas and to work together to ensure that a broad range of programmes are developed, delivered, evaluated and refined.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)