FOREWORD FROM THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
This report presents the findings of the fourth Scottish Health Survey and is the first report published following the redesign of the survey after a major review in 2005/2006. It has been commissioned by the Scottish Government and produced by a collaboration between the Scottish Centre for Social Research, the MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit based in Glasgow and the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at University College London.
The survey - based on interviews with over 8,000 adults and children each year - provides us with an extremely valuable collection of data on health and health behaviours in Scotland which is not available from other sources. The redesigned survey greatly improves the usefulness of this resource by providing results more frequently and increasing the opportunities for NHS Board level analysis in future years.
The amalgamation of NHS Health Scotland's Health Education Population Survey ( HEPS) with the Scottish Health Survey from 2008 also provides an opportunity to increase the breadth of potential analysis from this new data source whilst reducing the overall cost to Government and reducing the burden on interview respondents.
This survey is a valuable tool in measuring performance towards the Scottish Government's National Performance Framework and in achieving its strategic objective of Helping people to sustain and improve their health, especially in disadvantaged communities, ensuring better, local and faster access to health care. The Scottish Health Survey is the main data source for two of the national indicators 1 and provides a wealth of data for monitoring and evaluating a wide range of policies to improve Scotland's health and to reduce health inequalities.
The principal focus of the 2008 report is cardiovascular disease and the related risk factors, including smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity, obesity. Information on general health, mental health and dental health are also included.
I am pleased to welcome this valuable report and to thank the Scottish Centre for Social Research, the MRCSPHSU and UCL for their hard work in conducting the survey and preparing this report. Most importantly, I would also like to thank the 8,215 people who gave their time to participate in the survey. Without their help, we would not have this valuable information resource.
Dr Harry Burns
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
Scottish Government Health Directorates