The Scottish Health Survey 2021 - volume 1: main report

Presents results for the Scottish Health Survey 2021, providing information on the health and factors relating to health of people living in Scotland.

This document is part of 2 collections


The Scottish Health Survey (SHeS) is commissioned by the Scottish Government Health Directorates to provide reliable information on the health, and factors related to health, of people living in Scotland that cannot be obtained from other sources. The series aims to:

  • estimate the occurrence of particular health conditions
  • estimate the prevalence of certain risk factors associated with health
  • look at differences between regions and between subgroups of the population
  • monitor trends in the population's health over time
  • make a major contribution to monitoring progress towards health targets

Key findings from the 2021 survey are presented here alongside some trends. Further discussion of the findings and full documentation of the survey's methods and questionnaire can be found in the 2021 annual report available from the SHeS website. The report is accompanied by an extensive set of web tables for 2021.

Key trends and indicators for NHS health boards and local authorities are available in the SHeS dashboard.

About the Survey

The sample

SHeS has been designed to provide data on the health of adults (aged 16 and over) and children (aged 0-15) living in private households in Scotland annually. It provides data for NHS Health Boards and local authorities by combining data over four years. In 2021, 4,557 adults and 1,600 children took part in the survey.

The interview

The principal focus of the survey is cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related risk factors. Some questions and topics are asked annually while others vary from year to year. In 2021, interviews were conducted by telephone, because of the impacts of COVID-19, so no physical measurements were taken. Participants were also asked for permission to link survey responses to their administrative NHS health records. Following the survey, respondents were asked to complete online food intake recalls to get a more complete picture of people's diet. Key topics included in the 2021 survey were:

  • General health, CVD and CPR training
  • Mental wellbeing
  • Respiratory conditions including COVID-19
  • Diet and food insecurity
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and drugs
  • Gambling
  • Accidents



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