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

For the first time, the data for the diet chapter of the SHeS, provides comparison with the SDGs as they were collected by a new methodology developed by Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

The overall picture of diet in Scotland remains very poor, with fibre intake among the worst of the survey results. Diets which are high in fibre are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and bowel cancer.

The data shows that, on average, adults consumed 17.2g of fibre per day, well below the target of 30g. Men, who typically have a higher total food intake, were more likely to achieve the target (8%), compared with women (5%).

Key findings from the report show that in 2021:

  • revalence of hazardous or harmful weekly alcohol consumption has reduced from 34% in 2003 to 23% in 2021. Nine per cent of adults reported ever having had a problem with alcohol, with 1% saying they still had a problem.
  • Five per cent of adults were current e-cigarette users, a reduction from 7% each year between 2015 and 2019.
  • Thirty per cent of adults were living with obesity. This was similar to or marginally higher than rates in each year since 2008 (ranging from 27% to 29%).
  • Around one in five of all adults consumed five or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day (22%). This was similar to levels since 2003 (21% in 2003).
  • One in five children (20%) aged 2 to 15 met the five-a-day recommendation for consumption of fruit and vegetables. This was significantly higher than in the years 2008 to 2019.
  • Almost half of all adults (48%) met the Scottish Dietary goal to reduce total fat intake to no more than 35% of food energy. Around one in five adults (22%) met the Scottish Dietary Goal for free sugarsintake to not exceed 5% of total energy.

The Scottish Health Survey main report is published alongside a short summary report on the Scottish Health Survey website.  Key indicators for NHS health boards and local authorities are available via the Scottish Health Survey Dashboard.