Health Literacy in Children

This doctoral research focuses on health literacy among children in the Netherlands aged 9-12, in the context of prevention and health promotion. There is a great demand from society, government and healthcare for more insight into the health literacy among the members of this target group.


This research has two objectives:

1. To gain insight into which health literacy skills are relevant for children aged 9-12.

2. To identify potential successful components for learning optimal health literacy skills to children.


The intended results of the study are:

  • An overview of the operationalisations of health literacy skills among children aged 9-12 years.
  • Identification of the important health literacy skills for children aged 9-12 years in the Netherlands.
  • Insight into how children (want to) learn these health literacy skills.


01 September 2019 - 31 December 2024


First, a scoping review was conducted to examine the operationalization of health literacy skills. Additionally, a qualitative study was carried out to assess the comprehensibility and applicability of a Dutch measurement tool for health literacy skills. Focus groups were also conducted with children to gather their perspectives on what they believe health literacy means and entails.

In a modified Delphi study, international and national experts will strive for consensus in two phases regarding the applicability and importance of HL operationalisations for children aged 9-12 (in the Netherlands). Finally, a design study will be conducted, involving collaboration with children, parents, and schools to co-create an instructional framework for facilitating children's learning and measurement of the selected health literacy skills in a school context.

HU researchers involved in the research

Related research groups

Collaboration with knowledge partners

We work together with the following organisations:

  • Amsterdam Public Health research institute
  • Academische werkplaats Noord Holland
  • City of Utrecht, Department of Public Health
  • De Tweede Verdieping library in Nieuwegein
Supervision promotion
This PhD research is supervised by Prof. Mai Chin A Paw from the VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam, and by supervising professor Prof. Katarina Jerković-Ćosić. For this project we collaborate with research groups of the Research centre for Healthy and Sustainable Living, the Research group Communication in Digital Transition, and the Research group Youth.

Would you like to collaborate or do you have any questions?

Wieke van Boxtel | Researcher | Research group Innovations in Preventive Care

Wieke van Boxtel

  • Researcher
  • Research group: Innovations in Preventive Care