A1 Journal article (refereed)
Health literacy supports active aging (2021)

Eronen, J., Paakkari, L., Portegijs, E., Saajanaho, M., & Rantanen, T. (2021). Health literacy supports active aging. Preventive Medicine, 143, Article 106330. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106330

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Eronen, Johanna; Paakkari, Leena; Portegijs, Erja; Saajanaho, Milla; Rantanen, Taina

Journal or series: Preventive Medicine

ISSN: 0091-7435

eISSN: 1096-0260

Publication year: 2021

Volume: 143

Article number: 106330

Publisher: Elsevier

Publication country: Netherlands

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106330

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79717


From the individual viewpoint, active aging refers to the ability of older persons, depending on their goals, functional capacity and opportunities, to engage in desired activities. This study investigated the role of health literacy in active aging among persons differing in their number of chronic conditions. Data were collected from 948 individuals, 57% women, aged 75, 80 and 85 in 2017–2018 in the city of Jyväskylä in Central Finland. Health literacy was assessed with the 16-question version of the European Health Literacy Survey (HLS-EU-Q16), active aging with the University of Jyväskylä Active Aging Scale (UJACAS) and self-reported physician-diagnosed chronic conditions. Both health literacy (r = 0.40) and number of chronic conditions (r = −0.21) correlated with the active aging score. Linear regression models revealed that health literacy was a stronger predictor than chronic conditions of active aging (β 0.18, p < 0.001 vs. β −0.06, p = 0.030) and that its predictive value remained statistically significant after adjustment for cognitive capacity, number of depressive symptoms, physical performance and length of education. Higher health literacy can enable older persons, including those with multiple chronic conditions, to maintain higher levels of active aging. As more people are projected to live with chronic conditions to older ages, health literacy may help them to cope with illnesses and functional limitations and lead a fulfilling life. These cross-sectional findings lay a foundation for future prospective and experimental studies on health literacy and active aging.

Keywords: health promotion; health literacy; older people; ageing; functional capacity; cohort study

Free keywords: health literacy; health promotion; aging; multimorbidity; cohort study

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Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

Preliminary JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 10:31