Scottish Health Survey 2017: summary report

Key findings from the Scottish Health Survey 2017 report.

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Chapter 8: Obesity


  • Around two thirds (65%) of adults were overweight or obese ( BMI of 25 kg/m² or greater). This has remained stable since 2008 (fluctuating between 64% and 65%).
  • Levels of obesity, including morbid obesity ( BMI of 30 kg/m² or greater), among all adults remained at 29%, unchanged since 2015. This is significantly higher than in 2003 (24%).


33% of adults were a healthy weight (a BMI of between 18.5 and 25)

A greater proportion of men were overweight or obese than women of adults were a healthy weight (a BMI of between 18.5 and 25)


Levels of obesity tended to increase with age


  • In 2016/2017, the proportion of men and women with a raised waist circumference (men: larger than 102 cm, women: larger than 88cm) had increased since 2003. For women the increase was more profound, from 39% in 2003 to 54% in 2016/2017 (an increase of 16 percentage points), whereas for men the increase was from 28% in 2003 to 38% in 2016/2017 (an increase of 10 percentage points).
  • Health risk based on BMI and waist circumference increased with age for both men and women.

Increased health risk based on BMI and waist circumference


Categorised as ‘high risk’ or above


  • Prevalence of children at risk of obesity in 2017 was 13%, with levels showing a steady decline since 2014 (16-17% between 2003 and 2014), this is largely due to the decline in prevalence among boys from 20% in 2012 to 12% in 2017.
  • In 2017, the proportion of children of a healthy weight decreased with age; with children aged 2-6 being the most likely to fall within the healthy weight range (78%), compared with 66% of children aged 12-15.

72% of children (aged 2-15) were of healthy weight


Julie Landsberg

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