ALPHA keep diaries to inform seminar on health improvement

ALPHA, DECIPHer’s advisory group of young people, has been asked to prepare a seminar session for researchers in DECIPHer and Cardiff University’s Childhood Research Group, entitled ‘Young people’s perspectives on health improvement’. At ALPHA’s annual residential weekend away, held in October, members of the group decided that the best way for them to think about health improvement perspectives was by using a diary to log the health choices they make and the health improvement messages they receive.

Members of ALPHA, DECIPHer's advisory group of young people.

ALPHA members at their recent residential weekend plan the diary days

On Friday 14 and Saturday 15 December, 23 ALPHA members have been asked to anonymously fill out diary sheets. They have decided to log information relating to the following two broad categories:

Health choices – The young people will consider the question “What health choices did you have to make today?” Some of the suggested areas such choices might relate to were:

  • Food and drink;
  • Hours of sleep;
  • Stress levels;
  • Dental health;
  • Alcohol consumption;
  • Smoking;
  • Exercise.

Health messages – This will focus on the question “Did you receive any health messages (good, bad or confusing!)?” Examples given by the group of sites of health messages were:

  • Food packaging;
  • Cigarette packets;
  • Health apps;
  • Leaflets;
  • TV adverts;
  • Bus signs;
  • Magazines;
  • Comments from other people;
  • Indirect messages from product advertisements.

The members of ALPHA have been encouraged to write down information related to these but also to collect data in other ways, including taking photographs, making movies or even bringing in examples of the message they say (such as food packaging or health leaflets).

In ALPHA’s next meeting on Saturday 19 January, the young people will use the diary data to decide what they want to tell researchers about health improvement. The seminar will take place at DECIPHer in March.

Good luck, ALPHA members!

About the author: Hayley Reed is Involving Young People Research Officer at DECIPHer, and coordinates ALPHA. For more information about ALPHA, see their page on the DECIPHer website or contact Hayley on

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