Scottish Health Survey

The only annual national source of information on the health and factors relating to the health of people living in Scotland.
Glasgow, Scotland - Two cyclists in a park on a sunny day.

About the study

The Scottish Health Survey gives us an accurate picture of the health of the Scottish population.

It provides information about how healthy people are, what health services people use and examines the health and health-related behaviour of different groups in society.

The data collected also informs the Scottish Government National Performance Framework and feeds into a nationwide health strategy.

The latest report is from data collected in 2022. The study was initially conducted via telephone for the first two months, then switched to in-home interviews with a telephone contingency option for the rest of the survey year. 


  • In 2022, the proportion of adults who self-assessed their general health to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’ decreased as area deprivation increased, from 81% for those living in the least deprived quintile to 55% in the most deprived quintile. Good or very good health in the most deprived quintile is less prevalent in 2022 than 2021 (60%).
  • The proportion of adults reporting two or more symptoms of anxiety has risen to 17% in 2021/2022, compared to 14% in 2018/2019. In 2022, women (20%) were more likely than men (12%) to report two or more symptoms.
  • In 2022, adults who had any issues with their mouth, teeth or dentures reported lower WEMWBS mental wellbeing scores on average compared to those with no issues (41.9 compared with 47.7 respectively).
  • The mean units of alcohol consumed per week amongst adults has steadily declined since 2003, with a mean of 12.6 units being consumed a week in 2022 compared with 16.1 units in 2003.
  • The smoking rate among adults in 2022 was 15%. Although higher than the figure reported in 2021 (11%), this is still in line with a general downward trend which shows smoking rates peaked in 2003 (28%).
  • Use of Nicotine Vapour Products (such as e-cigarettes) has risen in 2022 to 10% compared to 2014-2021 where it stayed in the range 5-7%. Prevalence tends to decrease with age, with those aged 16-24 the most likely to report dual use of NVPs and cigarettes (7%), as well as use of NVPs with no history of smoking (3%).
  • More than one-third (38%) of adults reported being currently troubled by pain or discomfort for 3+ months in 2022, and prevalence increases based on deprivation levels with 50% of adults in the most deprived areas reporting pain compared to 29% in the least deprived.
  • In 2022, 65% of adults met the guidelines for moderate or vigorous physical activity (MVPA), which is lower than the proportion recorded in 2021 (69%).
  • The proportion of children not eating any fruit or vegetables varies by age, with children aged 13-15 being more likely to not consume any fruit or vegetables (14%) compared with those aged 2-7 (4%).
  • In 2022, 13% of adults reported that they had ever had long COVID, with 6% reporting that long COVID limits their ability to carry out day-to-day activities a lot, and 5% reporting activities being limited a little.


The Scottish Health Survey was first conducted in 1995 and then again in 1998 and 2003 and has been carried out annually since 2008.

The data is primarily collected via a face-to-face interview incorporating self-completion questionnaires and objective biomedical measurements. With COVID restrictions preventing in-home data collection, for the first two months of the 2022 survey, interviews were conducted on what is termed a “knock-to-nudge” basis whereby interviewers visited respondent households on the doorstep to encourage them to complete a telephone interview. From May 2022, interviews were undertaken using a face-to-face, in-home approach with a telephone contingency for those not willing to complete an in-home interview.

Participants from the child boost sample were invited via letter to opt-in to a telephone interview until July 2022. In August, the sample was linked with the Community Health Index (CHI) to better identify households with children. From September 2022, the linked child boost sample was worked face-to-face in-home.