The concept of health literacy has evolved over the last forty years from an individual, literacy driven focus in clinical settings to one associated with a contemporary approach to health promotion. The World Health Organization has defined health literacy as ‘the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health’ (World Health Organization, 1998, p. 10). The conceptual evolution of health literacy has seen a shift beyond a functional orientation to also recognise cognitive, behavioural and environmental influences. This more comprehensive view of health literacy acknowledges factors like efficacy, motivation, self-efficacy, autonomy, social support and empowerment. A health literate workforce could present benefits for the employee and employer..
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