Examples of Child Health-Literacy Skills in Health Promotion: A Developmental Perspective

Prose/Document-Literacy SkillsOral Literacy SkillsNumeracy SkillsSystems-Navigation Skills
By age 4 y, a child should be able to . . .NACommunicate with an adult caregiver or health provider about health behaviors (eg, tooth-brushing, physical activity).Recognize the relative value of health choices (eg, food portion sizes).NA
By age 10 y, a child should be able to . . .Understand the content of a child-oriented handout about bike-helmet use.Describe ways to prevent common childhood injuries and health problems.Identify the characteristics of healthy versus nonhealthy foods on the basis of sugar or fat content in nutrition labels.Describe how the media can influence health behaviors.
By age 14 y, a child should be able to . . .Develop a written plan to attain a personal health goal that addresses personal strengths, needs, and risks.Demonstrate refusal, negotiation, and collaboration skills to enhance peer and family influence on health behaviors.Analyze personal susceptibility to injury, illness, or death if engaging in unhealthy behaviors.Evaluate the validity of health information, products, and services and access valid health information and counseling services.
By age 18 y, a child should be able to . . .Complete a document with child's medical history and health needs and read and understand patient bill of rights.Identify a child or family's health behaviors and establish personal health goals for a family or child.Understand and use OTC medications and understand results of child health screening tests (eg, newborn screening results, growth chart).Complete the enrollment process for child health insurance (eg, SCHIP) and obtain school-based health services.
  • NA indicates not applicable; SCHIP, State Children's Health Insurance Program.

    Adapted from the Bright Futures3 initiative and the NHES77.