Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Interdisciplinary Centre
for Health Literacy

Health literacy in Germany - Developing a national action plan

Background and aims
According to the first representative German Health Literacy Survey (HLS-GER) the majority of the population in Germany - specifically 54.3% - has limited health literacy. Following the example of health literacy initiatives in other countries, a National Action Plan was developed in order to improve this situation and to help the topic to gain greater relevance in politics and among important stakeholders. The action plan lists the most important challenges for improving health literacy and presents 15 concrete recommendations in four areas of action.

The action plan, presented to the Minister of Health in 2018, was developed by a group of experts and agreed with representatives of politics and society, members of various health professions, representatives of civil society organisations as well as patient and citizen representatives. The implementation of the action plan is accompanied by various expert workshops in which individual recommendations of the National Action Plan are focussed, intensively discussed and translated into realisable goals. The results of the workshops are incorporated into policy papers, which are successively published and brought together and discussed at a conference.

Detailed Information
More information on the National Action Plan
Download National Action Plan Health Literacy
Download Policy Papers
Current results on health literacy in Germany

Publication list

Project management
Prof. Dr. Doris Schaeffer, Faculty of Health Sciences, Institute of Nursing Science (IPW) (lead), Prof. Dr. Ullrich Bauer,Faculty of Educational Science,Center for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence (CPI), Bielefeld University,Prof. Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann, Hertie School, Berlin, Dr. Kai Kolpatzik, Federal Association AOK

Dr. Annett Horn

Project team
Svea Gille

02/2016 bis 09/2020

Project funding


Coronavirus pandemic and health literacy: The coronavirus is currently spreading worldwide. During this pandemic, health literacy must be given special emphasis in order to prevent the new virus from spreading more rapidly. Further information can be found here.

COVID-19 and Infodemic: The COVID-19 pandemic is accompanied by the so-called "Infodemic" (Infodemic). Finding good information, protecting oneself from fake news and untruths and making sensible health decisions in these crises are the main focus. Further information can be found here.

Interview Children's health literacy: Children and young people are an important target group for the promotion of health literacy. However, little research has been done into this area. The Pharmazeutische Zeitung spoke to Orkan Okan of the ICHL about the current situation in Germany. Further information can be found here.

Development of a WHO European Region action plan on health literacy: In February, WHO Europe launched an initiative in Copenhagen to develop a European action plan to promote and strengthen health literacy for the 53 European Member States. Further information can be found here.

Health literacy in the digital age: This was the motto of a conference in Berlin on 04.02.2020. Link

4. HLCA Summer School: "Advancing health literacy during the life course: towards a health literate Europe" takes place at Bielefeld University from 23 to 27 September 2019. Link

Research Symposium: On 2.09.2019 the Research Symposium with the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) will take place at Bielefeld University (Room X-E0-222)

Patricia Wahl (Graf), Alexandra Fretian and Ullrich Bauer report on the topic of "Psychische Erkrankung im Alltag: Tabuisierung und Stigmatisierung" in the youth welfare report 02.19

IGEL Evaluation - Ergebnisse: Effectiveness of a school-based intervention to prevent child sexual abuse (Czerwinski et al.) Download

Die Utopie der Gene: Ullrich Bauer on the influence of genes in DIE ZEIT. Download Download

Ullrich Bauer bei der Child's World Conference (11.-13. Juli 2018). Learning, education and the ethical question of what we offer to pupils. Download

The EUSPR Newsletter The EUSPR Newsletter gives an overview of the German Health Prevention Network.

New article in the Archive of Public Health - Journal, by Domanska, O.M., Firnges, C., Bollweg, T.M. et al. Download

Ullrich Bauer's review of "Stimmungen der Soziologie" als short version and long version

New publications

International Handbook of health literacy
Handbuch Sozialisationsforschung
Präevention von sexueller Gewalt in der Primarstufe
Psychisch belastete Eltern in der sozialpädagogischen Familienhilfe
 Children in times of crisis