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Table 1 Definitions of health literacy

From: Health literacy and public health: A systematic review and integration of definitions and models

1 WHO (1998) "The cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health" [31]
2 American Medical Association's (1999) "The constellation of skills, including the ability to perform basic reading and numeral tasks required to function in the healthcare environment" [12]
3 Nutbeam (2000) "The personal, cognitive and social skills which determine the ability of individuals to gain access to, understand, and use information to promote and maintain good health" [36]
4 Institute of Medicine (2004) "The individuals' capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions" [8]
5 Kickbusch, Wait & Maag (2005) "The ability to make sound health decision(s) in the context of everyday life--at home, in the community, at the workplace, the healthcare system, the market place and the political arena. It is a critical empowerment strategy to increase people's control over their health, their ability to seek out information and their ability to take responsibility" [37]
6 Zarcadoolas, Pleasant & Greer (2003, 2005, 2006) "The wide range of skills, and competencies that people develop to seek out, comprehend, evaluate and use health information and concepts to make informed choices, reduce health risks ad increase quality of life" [34, 38, 39]
7 Paasche-Orlow & Wolf (2006) "An individual's possession of requisite skills for making health-related decisions, which means that health literacy must always be examined in the context of the specific tasks that need to be accomplished. The importance of a contextual appreciation of health literacy must be underscored" [40]
8 EU (2007) "The ability to read, filter and understand health information in order to form sound judgments" [30]
9 Pavlekovic (2008) "The capacity to obtain, interpret and understand basic health information and services and the competence to use such information to enhance health" [41]
10 Rootman & Gordon-Elbihbety (2008) "The ability to access, understand, evaluate and communicate information as a way to promote, maintain and improve health in a variety of settings across the life course" [42]
11 Ishikawa & Yano (2008) "The knowledge, skills and abilities that pertain to interactions with the healthcare system" [14]
12 Mancuso (2008) "A process that evolves over one's lifetime and encompasses the attributes of capacity, comprehension, and communication. The attributes of health literacy are integrated within and preceded by the skills, strategies, and abilities embedded within the competencies needed to attain health literacy" [43]
13 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) "The knowledge and skills required to understand and use information relating to health issues such as drugs and alcohol, disease prevention and treatment, safety and accident prevention, first aid, emergencies, and staying healthy" [44]
14 Yost et al. (2009) "The degree to which individuals have the capacity to read and comprehend health-related print material, identify and interpret information presented in graphical format (charts, graphs and tables), and perform arithmetic operations in order to make appropriate health and care decisions" [45]
15 Adams et al. (2009) "The ability to understand and interpret the meaning of health information in written, spoken or digital form and how this motivates people to embrace or disregard actions relating to health" [22]
16 Adkins et al. (2009) "The ability to derive meaning from different forms of communication by using a variety of skills to accomplish health-related objectives" [46]
17 Freedman et al. (2009) "The degree to which individuals and groups can obtain process, understand, evaluate, and act upon information needed to make public health decisions that benefit the community" [35]