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Helmholtz Munich | ©Petra Nehmeyer

Helmholtz Munich and AOK Launch Joint Project to Promote Health Literacy among Children and Adolescents

Public Engagement, Diabetes,

The Corona pandemic showed us clearly that to be able to find, understand and evaluate good health information is an important prerequisite for protecting ourselves from fake news. It is therefore important to begin by strengthening the health literacy of children and adolescents for them to positively influence their health self-determinedly and to be able to navigate the health care system safely. These are the crucial goals of a new project now launched at Helmholtz Munich with the support of AOK Bayern. Centerpiece will be a learning and information platform to be developed with the support of jointly students and teachers, offering multimedia features on health promotion and prevention.

"We want to help young people to be able to make responsible and beneficial decisions for their health," said Dr. Irmgard Stippler, CEO of AOK Bayern. "This is not about us or anyone else telling them what information is correct or incorrect specifically. This project will hand young people the tools to assess information on their own and make decisions based on that information."

Prof. Martin Hrabě de Angelis, Research Director at Helmholtz Munich also emphasized, "As the German Research Center for Environmental Health, we see it as our responsibility to pass on the knowledge we generate on health issues to society. The global increase of diseases such as diabetes or morbid obesity confirm our commitment to this important task," said Hrabě de Angelis. "This new project is one of our flagship projects, with which we also want to empower young people."

Learning and Information Platform for and by Students and Teachers

The idea to this project is based on recent studies of adolescent health literacy. These show a clear discrepancy between the self-assessment of students on the one hand and external assessment by their teachers on the other hand in regards to their digital health literacy. According to these studies, children and young adults find it particularly difficult to search for, find and evaluate digital health information. On this background, the idea to participatory develop an easily comprehensible and independent information and teaching platform was born, to which the students themselves are at the center of development. Throughout the entire process, student and teacher feedback regularly will be incorporated into the further development of the platform. This approach is based on the principle of ‘design thinking’. This innovative approach is used in science and industry to develop user-oriented solutions.

Communication of Sound Knowledge and Practical Methods

During the pilot phase of this project, participants will receive in-depth knowledge and practical methods on health literacy and various health topics, including nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. Participating pilot schools in Bavaria will then apply these findings directly to establish their own working groups. Within the framework of these working groups, students will be able to develop their own projects on health topics. To this end, they will also receive effective guidance in project management. In addition, the participants will also be able to pass on their experience and knowledge to their fellow students through peer teaching, that is learning by teaching.

This project is intended to contribute substantially to the goals of the National Action Plan on Health Literacy, which was developed by a group of experts from Bielefeld University and the Hertie School, among others, with funding from the Robert Bosch Foundation (Robert Bosch Stiftung) and the AOK Bundesverband (Federal Association of Local Health Insurance Funds).

Following the pilot phase, this project is planned to be extended from the pilot schools to the whole of Bavaria.


Please find further information here:

  • Helmholtz Munich 
  • AOK Medical insurance 
  • Hertie School 
  • Promoting health literacy in Germany