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Recognizing Children and Young People as Active Citizens within Health Literacy: Theory and Practice across Europe

Children and young people do not receive much attention within health literacy debates, and when notice is taken of them, it is in instrumental terms of intervening in the inter-generational transmission of adverse health behaviour. This pre-conference - in contrast - considered young people and children as subjects and agents, emphasizing their 'right to know' about their physical and mental health, and their ability to exercise critical thinking and active citizenship.


To what extent are children and young people actively connected and socially engaged, with awareness of reciprocal rights and responsibilities? How does their sense of health and well-being evolve as they grow and learn through exploring their life worlds?


Adults must receive equal attention in such an approach, since caregivers, teachers and parents contribute to children's health literacy within networks of adult-child relationships and responsibilities. The pre-conference examined various health literacy programmes - and their content, design and objectives - in order to scrutinise their relevance to children's and young people's critical thinking and active citizenship.








WISHES is an international network of health and education specialists, researchers, opinion leaders, teachers, practitioners and policy makers, committed to blending the strengths of research and practice in order to support children (and their significant adults) in achieving holistic well-being.



Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence


The Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence (CPI) constitutes a research branch of the Working Group Socialization at the Faculty of Education at Bielefeld University. Founded at the turn of the year 2012/2013, the CPI supports research activities in the areas of education and health, the dissemination of results to stakeholders and institutions involved, and the implementation of research findings in settings relevant to children, adolescents and young adults.




13:30 - 14:00      Welcome: Round of Introductions and presentation of the pre-conference programme


14:00 - 14:30      Panel Discussion: Paradigm shifts in Health Literacy for children and young people

Four short presentations followed by wider discussion


Paulo Pinheiro, Senior researcher, Centre for Prevention and Intervention in Childhood and Adolescence, Faculty of Educational Science, Bielefeld University


Ullrich Bauer, Professor of Socialisation Research, Head of CPI, Educational Sciences, University of Bielefeld


Shanti George, Independent Researcher


Elise Sijthoff, Programme Developer, Fysio Educatief



14:30 - 15:00      Theories and concepts in Health Literacy, with special reference t0 children and young people


Uwe H. Bittlingmayer, Sociologist, University of Education, FreiburgDeveloper, Fysio 


Janine Bröder, PhD candidate, Bielefeld University



15:00 - 15:30      Coffee Break and opportunity to develop your networks


15:30 - 16:00      Methods in Health Literacy as applied to children and young people

Rahel Kahlert, Director, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Health Promotion Research in Austria, Vienna
Almas Merchant, Researcher, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Health Promotion Research in Austria, Vienna
Orkan Okan, Research Associate and Scientific Project Manager, HLCA, Bielefeld University
16:00 - 16:30       Schools as research sites for Health Literacy
Malcolm Thomas, Director, School of Education and Lifelong Learning, Aberystwyth University
Dirk Bruland, Researcher, Faculty of Educational Science , Bielefeld University
16:30 - 17:00      Grand Finale: The ABC of Health Literacy - a curriculum for active citizens of all ages (LED by WISHES)
In the course of the afternoon's discussion and debate, during the sessions listed above, words and concepts were used to evoke ideas, academic theories, people's lived realities, political positions. The WISHES network has already begun work on ABCs of Health Literacy, whether a Researcher's ABC, an Activist's ABC or the ABCs formulated by groups of children of different ages.  'A' for Apple (even though fruit may not be easily affordable for certain families) or for Attachment or for Advocacy...?  C for Competencies or for Citizenship or for a Combination of both?'  'S' for Simple Solutions or for Salutogenesis?  This closing exercise allowed us to review the pre-conference discussions, to put in an elevator pitch for a particular theoretical or practical approach, to plead for the importance of a fresh insight -- and much more.



Tue November 17, 2015 09.00 to
Thu November 19, 2015 17.00




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