Lexicon for Health Activities Literacy Tests

This commonly used lexicon differentiates among various health-related activities.

  • Health promotion deals with activities that enhance and maintain health. Someone is engaged in health promotion when they read food or product labels or when they plan an exercise regimen. Materials associated with health promotion might include:
    • articles in newspapers and magazines
    • booklets
    • brochures
    • charts and graphs
  • Health protection involves materials that are produced in an effort to safeguard the health of individuals and communities. These materials include:
    • articles in newspapers and magazines
    • postings for health and safety warnings
    • air and water quality reports
    • referendums
  • Disease prevention involves behaviors that individuals take either to prevent an illness or to detect a disease or condition at an early stage. Materials associated with this category might include:
    • brochures or memos relating to immunization for infants or school children
    • information announcing a screening program or routine examinations
    • public service announcements about the use of sunscreen to prevent skin cancer
  • Health care and maintenance focuses on activities that individuals take or should take to learn more about an illness or the actions they need to take to follow a prescribed regimen. Examples here include:
    • reading patient education brochures
    • understanding product labels
    • measuring and monitoring symptoms
    • following recommended guidelines
    • preparing for tests and procedures
  • Systems navigation involves being able to read and understand bureaucratic and regulatory information. It often involves activities associated with:
    • understanding rights and responsibilities associated with health care
    • accessing public or private benefits
    • filling out informed consent forms