SHeS provides a detailed picture of the health of the Scottish population in private households and is designed to make a major contribution to the monitoring of health in Scotland. It is used by the Scottish Government for forward planning, identifying gaps in health services provision and identifying which groups are at particular risk of future ill-health.
The aims of the survey are:
- to estimate the prevalence of particular health conditions in Scotland
- to estimate the prevalence of certain risk factors associated with these health conditions and to document the pattern of related health behaviours
- to look at differences between regions and between subgroups of the population in the extent of their having these particular health conditions or risk factors, and to make comparisons with other national statistics for Scotland and England
- to monitor trends in the population's health over time
- to make a major contribution to monitoring progress towards health targets, including five National Indicators and contributing to one Purpose Target in the National Performance Framework. 
Results from previous iterations of the survey are available on the Reports and Publications section of the SHeS website.
The content of the survey was last reviewed in 2011  , following a major strategic review as part of the Scottish Government's Long Term Survey Strategy. The key changes to SHeS introduced in 2012 for the 2012-2015 surveys which are discussed in greater detail in Volume 2 of the 2012 technical report were:
- Inclusion of a set of harmonised core questions asked across all major Scottish Government household surveys. This has contributed to the publications of results for the Scottish Surveys Core Questions.
- Reduction in the achieved sample size from around 7,000 adults and 2,000 children to around 4,800 adults and 1,800 children per year, including boost samples.
- Discontinuation of a module of questions on Knowledge, Attitudes and Motivations ( KAM) to health which were included in the 2008-2011 surveys.
- Introduction of interviewer administered biological samples and measurements to replace the nurse interview.
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