Foreword From The Chief Medical Officer

This report presents the findings of the eighth Scottish Health Survey and is the fifth report published since the survey moved to a continuous design in 2008. The 2012-2015 surveys have been commissioned by the Scottish Government and produced by a collaboration between ScotCen Social Research, the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow, The Centre for Population Health Sciences at the University of Edinburgh and The Public Health Nutrition Research Group at Aberdeen University.

The survey provides us with an immensely valuable collection of data on cardiovascular disease and the related risk factors, including smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and obesity. Information on general health, mental health and dental health are also included.

The survey design was changed somewhat in 2012, with the removal of the nurse visit and the introduction of an interviewer-led biological module covering many of the measurements and samples previously collected via the nurse visit. The sample size was also reduced with around 6,500 interviews with adults and children being carried out in 2012 compared with around 9,000 in previous years.

Data are presented on gambling for the first time in this year's report. Gambling behaviour is increasingly a subject of public health and policy interest given the significant changes which have occurred in the gambling landscape in the past decade. The chapter looks at the types of gambling people participate in, estimates the prevalence of problem gambling in Scotland and examines the socio-economic patterning of problem gambling.

I am pleased to welcome this valuable report and to thank the consortium led by ScotCen Social Research for their hard work in conducting the survey and preparing this report. Most importantly, I would also like to thank the 6,602 people who gave their time to participate in the survey. The information they have provided is invaluable in developing and monitoring public health policy in Scotland.

Sir Harry Burns
Chief Medical Officer for Scotland
Scottish Government Health Directorates


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Email: Julie Landsberg