Health literacy and early childhood allergy prevention behaviors of new parents - a longitudinal analysis based on the KUNO-Kids birth cohort study

Starting a family can be considered a window of opportunity for promoting health literacy (HL), preventive behaviors, and health in families: New parents have manifold contacts with health care providers and are exposed to a range of information regarding their infant’s health.

Concerning early childhood allergy prevention (ECAP), parental behaviors can relate to nutrition, feeding and avoidance and/or exposure to allergens. Parents’ health literacy is an important precondition for the adoption of health behaviors in general. This may also apply to early childhood allergy prevention behaviors. However, until now, this has not yet been investigated. In particular, there is a lack of large-scale epidemiological research investigating the interplay between parental health literacy and parents’ health behaviors.

Study objectives

The study aims are:

  1. understanding health literacy and its determinants in a large cohort of mothers of newborns, 
  2. analyzing parental interventions for early childhood allergy prevention and the associations with health literacy, and
  3. exploring the mutual influences between maternal and paternal health literacy.

The results of this project are directly related to „Measurement“, in which an instrument for measuring early childhood allergy prevention of specific health literacy is being developed and validated. Further close links exist to „User Needs“; this project also collects data from new parents and explores possible determinants of parental early childhood prevention  behaviour.