RCPCH Scotland responds to the Scottish Health Survey 2018

The Scottish Health Survey (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. RCPCH Officer for Scotland, Professor Steve Turner, responds.

Responding to the publication of the Scottish Health Survey 2018 (SHeS), Professor Steve Turner, RCPCH Officer for Scotland, said:

Child health today is a measure of the nation's health tomorrow.

Actions must be taken now to address the stagnation of areas of child health in Scotland today. Thirty percent of Scottish children are not of a healthy weight, there has been no change in the diets of our children and only 15% consume the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, with 10% having none. Mental health problems have increased in both boys and girls, aged 16-24, with more than a quarter of girls reporting symptoms suggestive of psychiatric disorder.

The general decreases in alcohol consumption are reassuring; however, it is worrying that the highest mean consumption was among women aged 16-24. The further reduction of children’s exposure to second hand smoke in the home is the most positive finding of SheS for child health. 

While Scotland remains in the middle of an obesity epidemic the lack of action to tackle obesity in the next year is notable in this year’s Programme for Government.

Today we renew our call for immediate action on RCPCH recommendations for Scotland.

RCPCH Scotland recommendations to tackle obesity include:

  • NHS Scotland to expand the national programme to measure children after birth, before school and in adolescence
  • An audit of local authority licensing and catering arrangements with the intention of developing formal recommendations on reducing the proximity of fast food outlets to schools, colleges, leisure centres and other places where children gather
  • Making the healthy option the easier option – regulation of the price promotion of food
  • Clear food labelling, to ensure consumers are able to make informed food choices
  • Extending the ban on smoking in public places to all areas where children gather

For further details of RCPCH’s recommendations for Scotland, please see our State of Child Health 2017 report.