Research Topic

Health education: fostering public health literacy through innovative educational activities and resources

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In today’s society, the rapid pace at which science and technology advance together with the overwhelming amount of information made available by various sources, demand that common citizens are able to make informed decisions about a vast array of topics with inevitable repercussions for their health and ...

In today’s society, the rapid pace at which science and technology advance together with the overwhelming amount of information made available by various sources, demand that common citizens are able to make informed decisions about a vast array of topics with inevitable repercussions for their health and wellbeing.

To achieve this goal, it is necessary to scaffold the development of health literacy, ensuring that the public is motivated and capable of accessing, understanding and making use of accurate health-related information. In this context, the promotion of health education is of paramount importance. According to the World Health Organization, health education can be understood as “any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes”. The implications of this definition are two-fold: while in one hand this means providing access to top quality data - namely by taking hold of state-of-the-art research findings on biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, amongst other fields; in the other hand it also means empowering the public with the adequate knowledge and skills to efficiently mobilize those insights.

Like with other educational interventions, efforts to improve health literacy are potentially more effective when directed at younger population segments, as this increases the chance for an enduring exposure that can nourish a successful life-long learning. Acknowledging the need to spark young people’s interest about health-related issues, numerous initiatives and activities have been developed in the last few years, resulting in a vast array of resources, many of which are available online. Informed by the most modern educational theories, these innovative materials surpass traditional information campaigns and meet goals of not only enhancing understanding, but most importantly, fostering a critical positioning and ideally improving behaviours.

In this Research Topic, we wish to provide a comprehensive overview of current health education research, mainly (but not exclusively) focusing on children and teenagers. By bringing together the most ground-breaking research studies carried out in scope of the development and validation of educational activities and resources to promote health education in formal and informal settings, we will seek to unravel the worth and limitations of these resources. We greatly encourage contributions providing an assessment of the effectiveness of these activities, as well as critical discussions of elements that may modulate their didactic potential. Both ongoing and completed original research work is welcome.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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