Scottish Health Survey 2016 - volume 1: main report

Statistics relating to the health of people living in Scotland.

References and notes

1 World Health Organisation (2012). Fact Sheet No 311 Obesity and Overweight. Available at:

2 Moody A (2013). Chapter 10: Adult anthropemetric measures, overweight and obesity. In: Craig R, Mindell J (eds). Health Survey for England 2012. Volume 1: Health, social care and lifestyles. Leeds: Health and Social Care Information Centre. Available from:

3 Flegal, KM, Kit, BK, Orpana, H and Graubard, B I (2013). Association of All-Cause Mortality With Overweight and Obesity Using Standard Body Mass Index Categories. Journal of the American Medical Association; 209(1): 71-82.

4 Oude Luttikhuis, H, Baur, L, Jansen, H, Shrewsbury, VA, O'Malley, C, Stolk, RP and Summerbell, CD (2009). Interventions for treating obesity in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001872

5 Waters, E, de Silva-Sanigorski, A, Hall, BJ, Brown, T, Campbell, KJ, Gao, Y, Armstrong, R, Prosser, L, Summerbell, CD (2011). Interventions for preventing obesity in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; Issue 12. Art. No.: CD001871.

6 Nathan, BM and Moran, A (2008). Metabolic complications of obesity in childhood and adolescence: more than just diabetes. Current Opinion in Endocrinology Diabetes and Obesity; 15(1): 21-29.

7 SIGN (2010). Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network Management of Obesity – A National Clinical Guideline. SIGN guideline no. 115. Available from:

8 Grant, I, Fischbacher, C, and Whyte, B (2007). Obesity in Scotland – An Epidemiology Briefing. Edinburgh: NHS National Services Scotland/Scottish Public Health Observatory. Available from:

9 Obesity indicators: Monitoring progress for the prevention of obesity route map – December 2016 report. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2016. Available from:

10 Anstey, KJ, Cherbuin, N, Budge, M, and Young, J (2011). Body mass index in midlife and late-life as a risk factor for dementia: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. Obesity Reviews; 12(5): 426-37.

11 Xu, WL, Atti, AR, Gatz, M, Pedersen, NL, Johansson, B, and Fratiglioni, L. Midlife overweight and obesity increase late-life dementia risk: a population-based twin study. Neurology; 76(18): 1568-74.

12 Loef, M and Walach, H. Midlife obesity and dementia: meta-analysis and adjusted forecast of dementia prevalence in the United States and China. Obesity; 21(1): 51-5.

13 SPICe Briefing – Obesity in Scotland. January 2015. Edinburgh: Scottish Parliament, 2015. Available from:

14 Preventing overweight and obesity in Scotland: a route map towards healthy weight. Edinburgh:
Scottish Government, 2010. Available from:

15 Indicators to Monitor Progress of the Obesity Route Map. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2011. Available from:

16 Available from:

17 Parkinson J (2012). Establishing a Core Set of National, Sustainable Mental Health Indicators for Children and Young People in Scotland: Final Report. Glasgow: NHS Health Scotland. Available from:

18 See:

19 See:

20 World Health Organisation (2016). Report of the commission on ending childhood obesity.
Available from:

21 See:

22 A Nation with Ambition: The Government’s Programme for Scotland 2017-18
Available from:

23 Keith, SW, Fontaine, KR, Pajewski, NM, Metha,, T and Allison, D (2011). Use of self-reported height and weight biases the body mass index-mortality association. International Journal of Obesity; 35:401‑8.

24 Merrill, RM and Richardson, JS (2009). Validity of Self-Reported Height, Weight and Body Mass Index: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2006. Preventing Chronic Disease; 6(4): 61-10.

25 See:

26 The Frankfort Plane is an imaginary line passing through the external ear canal and across the top of the lower bone of the eye socket, immediately under the eye. Participants’ heads are positioned with the Frankfort Plane in a horizontal position when height is measured using a stadiometer as a means of ensuring that, as far as possible, the measurements taken are standardised.

27 These cut-offs differ to those used in the previous surveys. In 1995 and 1998 the normal weight range was defined as 20-25 kg/m2, in 2003 it was changed to 18.5-25 kg/m2. From 2008 onwards the ranges are defined as set out below. This brings the definition in line with WHO recommendations. The impact of the change of definition is very marginal as very few people have a BMI measurement that is exactly 18.5, 25, 30 or 40 kg/m2.

2003 2008 onwards
Underweight 18.5 or under Less than 18.5
Normal weight Over 18.5 – 25 18.5 to less than 25
Overweight Over 25 – 30 25 to less than 30
Obese Over 30 – 40 30 to less than 40
Morbidly obese Over 40 40+

28 Bellizzi, MC and Dietz, WH (1999). Workshop on childhood obesity: summary of the discussion. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition; 70: 173-175

29 Daniels, SR, Khoury, PR and Morrison, JA (1997). The utility of body mass index as a measure of body fatness in children and adolescents: Differences by race and gender. Pediatrics: 99: 804-807.

30 Cole, T, Freeman, JV and Preece, MA (1990). Body mass index reference curves for the UK. Archives of Disease in Childhood; 73: 25-29.

31 Cole, T, Freeman, JV and Preece, MA (1998). British 1990 growth reference centiles for weight, height, body mass index and head circumference fitted by maximum penalised likelihood. Statistics in Medicine; 17: 407-429.

32 Reilly, JJ (2002). Assessment of childhood obesity: National reference data or international approach? Obesity Research; 10: 838-840.

33 Reilly, JJ, Wilson, ML, Summerbell, CD, and Wilson, DC (2002). Obesity: diagnosis, prevention, and treatment; evidence based answers to common questions. Archives of Disease in Childhood; 86: 392-395.

34 Jotangia, D, Moody, A, Stamatakis, E and Wardle, H (2005). Obesity Among Children Under 11. London: Department of Health in collaboration with the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Available from:

35 Reilly, J, Dorosty, A, and Emmett, P (1999). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in British children: cohort study. British Medical Journal; 319: 1039.

36 Bundred, P, Kitciner, D and Buchan, I (2001). Prevalence of overweight and obese children between 1989 and 1998: population based series of cross sectional studies. British Medical Journal; 322: 1-4.

37 Rudolf, MCJ, Sahota, P, Barth, JH, and Walker, J (2001). Increasing prevalence of obesity in primary school children: cohort study. British Medical Journal; 322: 1094-1095.

38 This method has been developed by ISD Scotland, full details of the procedure are available on request from the Scottish Government Scottish Health Survey Team.

39 See:


Email: Julie Landsberg, Julie Landsberg

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
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