Does health literacy explain regional health disparities among adolescents in Finland?
Simonsen, N., Wackström, N., Roos, E., Suominen, S., Välimaa, R., Tynjälä, J., & Paakkari, L. (2021). Does health literacy explain regional health disparities among adolescents in Finland?. Health Promotion International, 36(6), 1727-1738. https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daaa122
Published inHealth Promotion International
© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Health literacy (HL)—as a broad range of health-related competencies—has been proposed to be a promising construct in understanding health disparities better, also among adolescents. Several factors have been found to explain differences in adolescents’ HL levels; however, not much is known about how different regions of a country or majority/minority status is associated with HL, or whether HL is associated with regional health disparities. The aim of this study was to examine and compare HL and health levels among majority- and minority-language-speaking adolescents living in different regions of Finland, and to explore if HL explains regional health disparities, taking into account other important structural stratifying factors. The study uses Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey data, collected among 13- and 15-year-old pupils in Finnish- and Swedish-speaking schools in Finland in 2014 (N = 3853/1123; 85/83%). Findings suggest that regional differences in HL levels and regional health disparities exist in both language groups. Health disparities were present in the Finnish-speaking sample among boys, the proportion rating their health as excellent ranging from 23 to 31% across regions, and in the Swedish-speaking sample among girls, the corresponding numbers ranging from 13 to 20%. In addition to other important structural stratifying factors, comprehensive HL explains these regional health disparities. This study adds to prior studies on the role of HL as a modifiable health resource by showing that regional health disparities among adolescents can partially be attributed to corresponding HL differences. ...
PublisherOxford University Press
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- Liikuntatieteiden tiedekunta 
Additional information about fundingThe study was supported by grants from The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland and National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland.
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