As health expands in modern societies, the role of the citizen in health gains increasing importance. This role has many facets: as an individual who takes care of her own health, as a consumer in the health market place, as a patient in the health care system, as a voter on health care issues, and as a social activist or volunteer together with others in Non Governmental Organizations and social movements.
In this context, the access to knowledge and information plays an ever-larger role in managing health and disease. Health systems and health plans are becoming more complex to navigate, treatment options need to be considered, complex drug regimes need to be adhered to, living wills need to be drawn up, and healthy lifestyles need to be lived. Every visit to the supermarket demands health choices, every decision to take the car rather than walk has health consequences. Indeed, both living in health and living with disease demand high health literacy, reflexivity and constant decision making not only within the medical system but within the context of every day life.