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Background: The importance of health literacy (HL) in health promotion is increasingly clear and acknowledged globally, especially when addressing noncommunicable diseases. This paper aimed to collect and summarize all current data from observational studies generating evidence of the association between HL and physical activity (PA) and to analyze intervention studies on the promotion of PA to ascertain whether HL moderates the efficacy of such intervention. Methods: A comprehensive systematic literature search of observational studies investigating the association between HL and PA was performed. Intervention studies on the promotion of PA that also measured the HL levels of participants and its effect on the outcome of the intervention were also identified. Results: Of the 22 studies included in this review, 18 found a significant positive association between high HL and high levels of PA. The only intervention study among them indicated that HL was not a significant moderator of the intervention’s effectiveness. Conclusion: HL can enable individuals to make deliberate choices about their PA and thus contribute to preventing many chronic noncommunicable diseases. That said, low levels of HL do not seem to influence the efficacy of health promotion interventions.

Buja, Rabensteiner, Sperotto, Grotto, Bertoncello, Cocchio, Baldovin, and Baldo are with the Department of Cardiological, Thoracic, Vascular Sciences and Public Health, University of Padova, Padova, Italy. Lorini is with the Department of Health Sciences, University of Florence, Firenze, Italy. Contu is the Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, Monserrato, Cagliari, Italy.

Buja (alessandra.buja@unipd.it) is corresponding author.

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