Universität Bielefeld

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Publication of the National Action Plan Health Literacy

Health literacy in Germany - Developing a national action plan

02/2016 bis 08/2019

Project management
Prof. Dr. Doris Schaeffer, The Department of Health Services Research and Nursing Science, University of Bielefeld (lead), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bauer, Faculty for Educational Sciences, Center for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence (ZPI), University of Bielefeld, Prof. Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin, Dr. Kai Kolpatzik, AOK-Federal Association

Dr. Annett Horn

Project funding
Robert Bosch Foundation

According to the German Health Literacy Study, approximately 54% of the German population has limited health literacy. Other studies, such as WIdO HL-study, the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-EU) and Anglo-American studies show similar results. Internationally, the issue of health literacy has long received a good deal of attention, both in research and in politics. At the EU level, for example, the program "Promoting Health Literacy in Europe" has existed for several years. In addition, a number of governments have launched their own national programs, often preceding the preparation of a subsequent action plan. Action plans exist, for example, in the USA, Canada, Australia, Scotland and Austria. These action plans serve both to help the issue of health literacy find greater resonance in politics and with key actors, and to stimulate political action.

In Germany, the importance of health literacy for maintaining good health and health care has only recently been focused on, and it has not yet been sufficiently identified as a social, political and public health task.

The goal of the project proposal is the:

  • Preparation of a National Health Literacy Action Plan that focuses on improving the health literacy of the German population.
  • Pooling different competencies and pointing out action steps at different levels.
  • Validation and discussion of the action plan via expert group meetings and symposia.

Presentation of the National Action Plan Health Literacy
The National Action Plan Health Literacy was publicly presented on February 19th, 2018 in the presence of Federal Health Minister Hermann Gröhe and subsequently commented on and discussed by high-ranking representatives from politics, science and practice. It focuses on four areas of action and makes 15 concrete recommendations to promote health literacy.

Download National Action Plan Health Literacy
More information on the National Action Plan (in German) (Homepage)
Press release (in German)
Current findings on health literacy in Germany (in German)

Current publications on Health Literacy can be found in our publication list

New publication:
Health Literacy - the state of research and future perspectives (book in German with some chapters in English)
Published by Doris Schaeffer and Jürgen Pelikan




Maps and Addresses