Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Interdisciplinary Centre
for Health Literacy

HL-Kids-NRW: Representative Health Literacy Survey of Children in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)



Brief description

In the second funding phase of the HLCA consortium, the research project HL-Kids-NRW will directly continue the research conducted in the project "MoMChild" in the first funding phase. In this project, the European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q) was adapted for 9- to 10-year-old children. This age-adapted version, the HLS-Child-Q15-DE was validated and is now (1) being used in a first representative survey of among children aged 9 to 10 years in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The questionnaire will also (2) be translated and (3) modified for use among children young people aged 11 to 13 years.


Project description

The research project HL-Kids-NRW pursues three main objectives in the second funding phase of the HLCA research consortium:

  1. To conduct a representative survey of health literacy among children attending fourth grade of primary school using the adapted HLS-Child-Q15-DE questionnaire..
  2. The translation of the questionnaire into English and Portuguese and, if possible, cultural adaptation of the questionaire.
  3. The modification and further development of the HLS-Child questionnaire for young people aged 11 to 13 years based on the findings of the subprojects MoMChild (children aged 9 to 10 years) and MOHLAA (young people aged 14 to 17 years).

These three objectives are described in more detail below.

  1. Representative Health Literacy Survey in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)

So far, no representative data is available on the health literacy of primary school children in Germany. In order to close this research gap, a representative survey of the health literacy of fourth grade students (age: 9 to 10 years) in NRW is being conducted. For this purpose, the HLS-Child questionnaire, which was validated in the previous funding phase, will be used, which is a survey instrument of multidimensional health literacy. Therefore, the questionnaire does not only assess the difficulties children face when accessing, understanding, evaluating, and applying health-related information in the context of health care (e.g. information about diseases and their treatment), but also addresses dealing with health-related information in the contexts of disease prevention and health promotion. This type of measurement is consistent with the European Health Literacy Study as well as with the numerous international comparative studies conducted with the HLS-EU-Q. Thus, this research project connects directly to previous research efforts. However, this is the first time for an adapted version of the HLS-EU-Q to be used to assess children?s health literacy. The quality of the HLS-Child-Q has been tested qualitatively and quantitatively during the first funding phase and the questionnaire has proven to be appropriate for 9- to 10-year-old children.

The representative survey of children?s health literacy in North Rhine-Westphalia does not only provide a first-time assessment to determine the need for targeted intervention, but also an empirical examination of the factors that determine health literacy and its effect on key health outcomes, such as self-reported health status and various aspects of health behaviour.

  1. Translation and cultural adaptation

The second aim of HL-Kids-NRW is to translate the questionnaire into English and Portuguese. The English translation is intended to make the questionnaire generally available to the international research community; the Portuguese translation will be conducted in light of a planned national survey of children?s health literacy in Portugal. For this purpose, established cooperations with researchers in Portugal will be used to allow field access to the target group. The translation and adaptation of the HL-Child-Q15 will enable comprehensive surveys in the international context.

  1. Adaptation for young people aged 11 to 13

Lastly, we aim to develop a questionnaire to measure the health literacy of 11-13 year olds. This will close the gap between the research conducted in the HLCA projects MoMChild (questionnaire for 9- to 10-year-olds) and MOHLAA (questionnaire for 14- to 17-year-olds) and enable a continuous assessment of health literacy in the life course.


About the project


Contact person:

Torsten Bollweg


Project management

Prof. Dr. Ullrich Bauer
Dr. Paulo Pinheiro


März 2018 - Februar 2021


Further information about the HLCA joint project can be found at www.hlca-consortium.de!

Gefördert vom Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung


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