Prevailingly, health literacy has been defined as a multi-dimensional, complex construct, entailing, among others, relevant skills and knowledge to seek and deal with health information and health-related decision-making in the health care, work, and other life settings. EYNCRIN follows a continuum of two approaches that can be phrased as two questions, namely:
(a) ‘what should a health literate person be able to do?’, hence the direct purpose or aim of health literacy; and
(b) ‘what are the abilities, competencies and other attributes that characterize a health literate person or a health literate entity/community?’
Within the first approach, typical actions or tasks related to young people’s health literacy are:
The given action areas are broad and have varying degrees of complexity depending on the specific context or situation.
Moreover, definitions and models representing this approach draw on the underlying assumption that health literacy skills, health information, and other components are per se relevant and meaningful for the specific youth group, and that these can be used to achieve the defined health literacy actions and decisions.
During childhood and youth, fundamental cognitive, physical and emotional development processes take place and health-related behaviours and skills develop. Some young people don`t get enough education and training on health-related behaviours and lack health protection and prevention skills.
The "Youth Health Literacy" Program seeks to bridge the gaps in education and training of young people in Europe, aiming to support them to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to lead healthy lifestyles and act responsibly towards their own health and the health of the others.
The "Youth Health Literacy" Program is part of the EYNCRINs larger group of programs called "Healthy Youth Programs"
As a youth network of organizations, the EYNCRIN seeks to meet the needs of young people of health education and training, related to their healthy habits, such as healthy lifestyles, physical mobility, healthy eating and cooking, as well as healthy attitudes to the self and the world. Therefore, this program works in collaboration with other EYNCRIN programs such as "Youth-Lead Sports Development Program" (promoting healthy physical activity); the "Youth Mental Wellbeing" Program (focusing on emotional health and mental wellbeing of young people) and the "Responsible Youth Campaign", which was specifically developed during the CoVid19 Pandemics to educate responsible healthy attitudes of young people towards their own health and towards the health of the other people in the community.
According to the academic definitions, health literacy is the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information needed to make appropriate health decisions. European researchers point out that low health literacy is more prevalent among young people, older adults, members of migrant, refugee and minority populations, communities and individuals with low socioeconomic status. The EYNCRIN research from 2020 on health literacy among young people in Europe, points out that there is a wide range of youth groups in Europe with low health literacy such as: racial and ethnic minority youth; migrant and refugee youth; young people from rural and remote areas; homeless youth and young people from from marginalized communities and neighbourhoods; youth from families in crisis such as alcoholism, drug abuse and violence problems.