As part of the annual conference of the Austrian Platform for Health Literacy (ÖPGK), the Austrian Health Literacy Award was awarded for the second time on 10 October 2023 in Vienna. The award honours publications, initiatives and projects in the categories of practice, media and research that make a valuable contribution to strengthening health literacy in Austria. In the category research, the Jürgen Pelikan Research Prize was awarded for the first time. Since 2023, this prize has been dedicated to the patron of the name, who was an important pioneer in the field of health literacy and set meaningful impulses in Europe and worldwide. In this context, the joint project of "Geko-T – Health literacy of 9- to 13-year-old children in Tyrol" GÖG and CSHI was awarded. The jury justified its decision by stating that "the project (...) can be rated as outstanding in terms of theory as well as method and practical applicability (...) and [contributes] to the development of knowledge in health literacy research".
Within the framework of the study, the current state of research on health literacy of children and adolescents was determined, a new survey instrument for measuring the target group’s health literacy was developed and data on the health dimensions of nutrition, physical activity and psychosocial health were collected with the help of this instrument. Within the scope of the Geko-T study, a total of 760 children and adolescents aged 9 to 13 years in Tyrol were surveyed in the period from April to July 2022.
The importance of the research project is reflected in the fact that health literacy is a relevant health determinant, the promotion of which enables a positive development of health and well-being and contributes to the reduction of health inequalities. Health literacy is therefore of central importance for the health behaviour of children and adolescents. It supports health-promoting behaviour of children and adolescents through competent handling of health information and empowers them to proactively shape a healthy future for them. Early reinforcement is therefore crucial, also because influence can already be exerted on health decisions that continue later in adulthood. So far, there has been a lack of sound data throughout Austria to determine the areas in which children's health literacy should be specifically promoted. For this reason, the project was implemented in cooperation between GÖG and CSHI on behalf of the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK) - Landesstelle Tirol. The study was funded by the "Joint health objectives from the framework pharmaceutical contract, a cooperation of the Austrian pharmaceutical industry and the social insurance". After a project duration of more than three years, the results are now available, which have already been discussed with experts from the fields of science, politics, health promotion, health care, education, school social work and open youth work together with the first options for measures.
The results of the award-winning Geko-T study can be found in the results report (in German language only). In addition, you can find more information about the current follow-up project "Psychosocial Health Literacy in Children" here.
Watch the winning video here (in German language only).
Dr. Claudia Zoller
Postdoctoral Researcher, Project Lead
Université Côte d’Azur & Center for Social & Health Innovation (CSHI), MCI
Friederike Sahling, B.Sc., M.A.
Research Assistance & Project Management
Center for Social & Health Innovation (CSHI)
+43 512 2070 – 7442
Jürgen Pelikan Research Prize 2023. © ÖPGK