December 2012 – March 2013
ALPHA was invited to present at a seminar at DECIPHer on young people’s perspectives of health improvement. During the October residential, the group decided the best way to answer this was to keep a diary of the health choices they made and the health messages (good, bad or confusing!) that they received. The young people suggested they might write about topics such as food and drink, hours of sleep, stress levels, dental health, alcohol, smoking and exercise. They kept the health diaries for two days in December.
In March, ALPHA presented their findings at a seminar to DECIPHer researchers in Cardiff. ALPHA thought health choices made by young people should be considered in the context of their past experiences, their present positions and the fact that they do not often think about the consequences of their actions for the future. For example, food choices can be affected by what foods parents expose their children to, how much money young people have to buy food and young people not thinking about how their food choices will affect their health when they are adults.
ALPHA talked about restrictions like food policies in schools. The young people felt they should ultimately decide what they want; but need to be fully informed of the facts. Often this is not the case, as the messages they receive are confusing or contradictory.
ALPHA members have written more about their health diaries in this blog.