Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Youth Engagement at the HBSC Conference

Youth engagement was a key element of the recent Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) conference. Youth delegates from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada attended the conference in St Andrews between 18th and 21st June. Six youth delegates from England travelled up to Scotland; Maddie, Holly and Kathryn from Bedford Modern School and Claudia, Aminah and Sophie from Hitchin Girls School.

On the first day of the conference the youth delegates co-presented a scientific paper on the topic of bullying with Professor Fiona Brooks (University of Hertfordshire), Professor John Freeman (Queen’s University, Canada) and the Canadian youth delegates. The girls also attended a number of seminars, in which they actively encouraged and contributed to the debate through well informed questions and comments. On the second day the youth delegates presented their perspectives on health to the whole conference of 250 delegates; the England team focused primarily on the topics of body image and family communication. After their presentation they invited questions from the audience, which they proceeded to answer with a great sense of insight and awareness. Throughout the second day, the girls also interviewed a number of the conference delegates on their views surrounding youth engagement within research.  They talked to delegates from across Europe and Canada, including representatives from The Scottish Government, The World Health Organisation and NICE England. 
Above: Presenting to the conference delegates on the topic of body image.

The youth delegates were excellent ambassadors for young people, and the views they expressed were both insightful and applicable to the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The young people’s participation within the conference highlighted the importance and benefit of including young people within the study. Candace Currie, the International Co-ordinator of HBSC, said, “It was great to witness the power of youth participation. I was really impressed with the potential for a different kind of dialogue and engagement with young people as stakeholders in research.”
Above: Our fantastic youth delegates from England!
For more information about youth engagement within HBSC England check out our other blog posts: "Involving the people that matter: A day with our young researchers" and "Youth Participation".
Kayleigh Chester


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