Health literacy and the australian curriculum for health and physical education: A marriage of convenience or a process of empowerment?

Laura Georgina Alfrey, Trent Dickson Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The concept of ‘health literacy’ is becoming increasingly prominent internationally, and it has been identified as one of the five key propositions that underpin the forthcoming Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (ACHPE). The ACHPE is one of few national curricula to explicitly refer to health literacy, identifying it as an empowerment strategy that involves young people taking action to promote their own and others' good health. Given ongoing concerns surrounding the efficacy of Health Education, coupled with the privileged status of literacy education in contemporary schooling, health literacy could also be viewed as an unsurprising marriage of convenience between health and dominant education discourses. This paper explores health literacy from socio-historical, theoretical and future-focused perspectives. In so doing, it discusses some possible implications, challenges and opportunities that we could expect once the ACHPE is mobilised in schools. © 2013 Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159 - 173
Number of pages15
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Health, Sport and Physical Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Australian curriculum
  • Health and physical education
  • Health literacy

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