Much attention is paid to the role of the pedagogue and parents and their mutual cooperation in developing children’s health care competence and children’s health literacy (Pranevičienė, Vasiliauskienė, 2017). Health literacy is understood as the ability to search for, understand health information transmitted through various information channels, to be able to critically evaluate it, to use it in everyday life in the fields of health care, disease prevention and health promotion (domains) and to improve quality of life (Sørensen et al., 2015). The results of different studies (Jourdan et al., 2017) show that educators lack knowledge on how to develop children’s health care and strengthening competence, they face parents’ reluctance to communicate, poor communication, failures in health care competence are due to the socio-economic situation of families. There are no specific studies reflecting the characteristics of preschool children’s health competence development. D. Jourdan (2017) et al. the results of the study showed that parents, family social status and living conditions have a very significant impact on children’s health literacy. According to the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-ES), around 50% of The health literacy of the European population is insufficient (Sukys et al., 2017). Therefore, the role of pre-school educators and parents and their mutual cooperation in developing children’s health competence and children’s health literacy are particularly important in the context of health literacy. The aim of the research is to determine the health literacy of pre-school teachers and parents according to the levels and their attitude to the development of health competence.
Project is funded by EU Structural Funds according to the 2014–2020 Operational Programme for the European Union Funds’ Investments priority “Development of scientific competence of researchers, other researchers, students through practical scientific activities” under Measure No. 09.3.3-LMT-K-712.
Background of the topic. The goals set in the Lithuanian Health Program 2014–2025 (2014) are significant for the development of children’s health care competence: to form a healthy lifestyle and its culture, to ensure the conditions of optimal physical activity of preschool children, to protect and improve the living and kindergarten and public space environment. Health literacy is a targeted form of social capital (Abel et al., 2008), and low health literacy increases health inequalities (Fleary et al., 2018).
The aim of the research. To determine the levels of health literacy of preschool children’ parents and their teachers, also the attitude towards the development of health competence.
Research material and methods. A quantitative study was conducted on a sample of 79 parents (63.3% women and 36.7% men) and 34 pre-school teachers. The European Health Literacy Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q47) was used to assess health literacy. It consists of three scales that allow respondents to assess health literacy in health care (16 statements), disease prevention (15 statements), and health promotion (16 statements). The answers are given on a 4-point Likert scale (1 – very difficult, 2 – quite difficult, 3 – quite easy, 4 – very easy), leaving the respondents the opportunity not to answer (fifth answer – I don’t know). To determine the health literacy index, the scores obtained are standardized on a scale from 0 points (minimum health literacy level) to 50 points (highest health literacy level). Based on the calculated health literacy index, four levels of health literacy are distinguished: 1) from 0 to 25 points – insufficient, 2) from 25 to 33 points – problematic, 3) from 33 to 42 points – sufficient, 4) from 42 to 50 points – very good (HLS-EU, 2013). A questionnaire covering the approach to health education competence and blocks of sociodemographic questions was also developed for the research. The survey data were processed with the statistical data analysis program SPSS 24.0. The statistical methods used – mean, standard deviation, percentage frequency distribution were calculated using the Chi-square criterion. Confidence levels of p <0.05 were statistically significant to assess data difference. Conclusions. 1. After evaluating the parents' attitude to the development of children's health competence in preschool age, it was found that parents are well aware that their role is one of the most important in developing children's health competence. The majority of parents surveyed devote 3 to 5 hours per week to developing children's health competence. He also pointed out that in educational institutions a lot of attention is paid to the development of healthy lifestyle and health literacy, and health and sports events take place regularly. After assessing health literacy, an insufficient and problematic level of health literacy was identified. 2. Assessing the attitude of educators towards the development of children's health competence in preschool age, it was found that educators who devote 5 hours and more to the development of a healthy lifestyle are almost twice as many as the group of parents in the same question category. The majority of educators who participated in the survey indicated that prevention programs implemented in Lithuania are rarely applied in their educational institutions. However, projects and programs to strengthen and improve children's health are very often developed in educational institutions. After assessing health literacy, an insufficient and problematic level of health literacy was identified. 3. After assessing the health literacy of parents and teachers, an insufficient and problematic level of health literacy was identified. Although representatives of both research groups indicated that the promotion of health in the child's daily education is important, planned and implemented.
Period of project implementation: 2021-07-05 - 2021-08-31
Project coordinator: Kaunas University of Technology