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Scottish health survey

Published: 22 Sep 2015 09:30

New figures shine light on public health

More than three quarters of children are getting the recommended amount of physical activity, according to the latest Scottish Health Survey.

The 2014 survey, published today, found that 76 per cent of two to 15 year olds met the guidelines of 60 minutes or more per day – up from 71 per cent in 2008. The proportion of adults physically active at the recommended level (150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week) stands at 63 per cent, and is relatively stable.

The survey contained questions about e-cigarettes for the first time this year. It found that 32 per cent of smokers and recent ex-smokers who had tried to give up had used the devices in a recent quit attempt, with 36 per cent using nicotine patches.

In total, 15 per cent of adults said they had tried an e-cigarette, but only one per cent of people who have never smoked have tried them.

The Scottish Health Survey is commissioned annually by the Scottish Government to check trends in a wide range of public health measures.

Other findings include:
• 74 per cent of adults continue to identify their health as good or very good
• Both adult obesity and child obesity levels have remained relatively stable since 2008 – 28 per cent and 17 per cent respectively
• In 2014 one in five adults (22 per cent) reported that they were current cigarette smokers, down from 28 per cent in 2003.
• Average weekly alcohol consumption is 13.6 units for men and 7.4 units for women
• Twenty per cent of adults drink at harmful or hazardous levels. This has fallen since 2003 but has not changed significantly in recent years

Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Sport, Health Improvement and Mental Health, said:

"It's encouraging to see that the number of children meeting the physical activity guidelines continues to increase. This Government remains committed to helping Scotland be more physically active, providing the right facilities in the right places and ensuring our world-class sporting facilities cater to performance athletes and local communities alike.

"We have invested almost £3 million in physical activity projects, including those aimed at specific groups furthest away from meeting physical activity guidelines – older adults and teenage girls. This is backed up by investment in school sport, £50 million invested in Active Schools from 2015-19, and a commitment to deliver 150 Community Sport Hubs across all local authorities by 2016. Our Legacy 2014 Active Places fund has benefited 188 projects in every part of Scotland."

Maureen Watt, Minister for Public Health, said:

"The Scottish Health Survey shows that there is still work to be done to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles. The Scottish Government has a range of measures in place to encourage people to eat healthier diets, quite smoking, drink less alcohol and take more physical activity.

"There is relatively little evidence on the number of people using electronic cigarettes, and their reasons for using them. This survey gives us some useful information about what the situation is in Scotland.

"Further research on the health impacts of e-cigarettes on both users and bystanders is needed, and we will continue to monitor evidence. However, current evidence suggests e-cigarettes are far less harmful than tobacco and if using them helps smokers quit entirely then that is to be welcomed."