Health Policy Manag.  2019 Jun;29(2):146-159. 10.4332/KJHPA.2019.29.2.146.

A Survey on the Level and Related Factors of Health Literacy in Korean People

  • 1Health Insurance Policy Research Institute, National Health Insurance Service, Wonju, Korea.
  • 2National Evidence-Based Healthcare Collaborating Agency, Seoul, Korea.


The purpose of this study is to measure the Korean health literacy level and to analyse its gaps according to the factors of socioeconomic and health status and health behaviors. Based on this, policy implications were reviewed to improve the understandability on health information and to reduce the gap among socioeconomic groups.
HLS-EU-Q47, a tool developed by the European Health Literacy Project, was used to conduct a face-to-face interview survey on the health literacy for the samples from general population.
The public general health literacy (HL) index was 34.5 out of 50. HL is consisted of three sub-dimensions: healthcare (HC-HL), disease prevention (DP-HL), and health promotion (HP-HL). And a HL analysis found scores of 34.7 points for HC-HL, 35.4 points for DP-HL, and 33.3 points for HP-HL. The level of all HL was different according to socioeconomic characteristics and health behavior.
Based on the results of this study, more research activities on health-related literacy need to be conducted, and monitoring system on the HL level needs to be developed and implemented. In addition, a program to improve HL levels needs to be developed in order to strengthen the basis for a more sustainable healthcare system as an agenda with national health policy priority.


Health literacy; Health behavior; Consumer health information; Delivery of health care; HLS-EU-Q47

MeSH Terms

Consumer Health Information
Delivery of Health Care
Health Behavior
Health Literacy*
Health Policy
Health Promotion
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