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Uses of the Scottish Health Survey

The following list covers various ways in which the Health Survey has been used in recent years:

  1. Monitoring trends in health related factors, comparing health across different parts of the country - and with other countries and European regions. Also we've been using the survey linked to hospital admissions data to help predict future hospitalisations based on health survey risk factor data .David Walsh (DRS)
  2. To describe population health and to assess the long-term impact of health improvement activities. Dr David S Gordon, Head of Public Health Observatory Division, NHS Health Scotland
  3. Data has been used to look at what effects / links can be seen between smoking and diet and smoking and body weight and shape .Dr Catherine Hankey, SRD, Senior Lecturer in Human Nutrition, Human Nutrition Section, University of Glasgow Division of Developmental Medicine
  4. Use of the data mainly for teaching purposes - to help students studying health psychology to relate their studies to the reality of peoples health in Scotland .Vivien Swanson, University of Stirling.
  5. In work commissioned by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health, the Medical Research Council used the survey to compare health and related behaviours in Glasgow to the rest of Scotland (published July 2007).
  6. In separate work, the link between being overweight and psychosocial health in adolescents has been investigated. Linsay Gray
  7. Researchers use the data to compare the health of people in Scotland with people in England, to see what we can learn. We use the data to see how quickly people's levels of risk for heart disease (eg choesterol) is falling, now more people are having treatment for high levels. Jenny Mindell, University College London UCL
  8. The Scottish Public Health Observatory (ScotPHO) uses the survey to look at trends over time and between age groups for health risk factors like obesity, smoking and alcohol. They also use the survey to look at the link between risk factors and the likelihood of being admitted to hospital or early death. ScotPHO also use of SHeS data in a variety of places to describe health patterns in Scotland ( results on their website) .Diane Stockton,ISD
  9. ISD uses the data to respond to information requests from the media, the public, the NHS and the Scottish parliament on public health topics such as smoking, obesity, physical activity etc. Dr Colin Fischbacher, Consultant in Public Health Medicine,Information Services Division (ISD),NHS National Services Scotland.
  10. ISD Scotland undertook a record linkage exercise to link both the 1995 and 1998 Scottish Health Survey data to the linked Scottish hospital admission and mortality database. From this an analysis of the link between behavioural, biological and social risk factors and subsequent hospital admission and death in Scotland was undertaken. Richard Lawder, ISD Scotland
  11. Investigating the relationship between diet and cardiovascular disease and stroke (using the dataset with SMR linkage) and Comparing the results of other surveys of lifestyle and health in children in adults in Scotland as a check on the wider applicability of results of smaller studies Geraldine McNeill Senior Lecturer in Nutrition Epidemiology, University of Aberdeen and Head of Public Health Nutrition Research Group, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen

Further information on the uses of the Scottish Health Survey can be found at:


Published papers using Scottish Health Survey data can be obtained from our publications page.