Health Literacy among Japanese College Students: Association with Healthy Lifestyle and Subjective Health Status

Healthcare (Basel). 2023 Feb 27;11(5):704. doi: 10.3390/healthcare11050704.


The improvement of health literacy (HL) is a critical issue for college students who are in the transitional period to adulthood and are establishing their subsequent lifestyles. The present study aimed to evaluate the current state of HL among college students and to explore the factors that influence HL. Moreover, it investigated the relationship between HL and health conditions. For this study, the researchers conducted an online survey of college students. The questionnaire consisted of the Japanese version of the 47-item European Health Literacy Survey Questionnaire (HLS-EU-Q47), which is a self-assessment tool for HL that covers the major health issues of college students and health-related quality of life. The study analyzed 1049 valid responses. Based on the HLS-EU-Q47 total score, 85% of the participants exhibited problematic or unsatisfactory HL levels. Participants who reported high levels of healthy lifestyles obtained high HL scores. High levels of HL were associated with high levels of subjective health. Results from quantitative text analysis suggested that specific mindsets were correlated with high levels of competency in appraising health information among male students. In the future, educational intervention programs for college students need to be established to improve HL levels.

Keywords: collegiate health; disease prevention; health education; health literacy; health promotion; primary healthcare; web-based survey.