The survey is commissioned by the Scottish Government Health Directorates and undertaken by ScotCen for Social Research and the Office of National Statistics. It provides comprehensive national statistics on public health in Scotland. Chapter 2 is dedicated to examining general health, cardiovascular diseases and caring. Government policy acknowledges the growing importance of working towards sustainable health care provision, particularly in the context of a changing demographic with an ageing population and increasing number of people living with long-term conditions. Promoting physical activity is a significant tenet of the Government’s Public Health Priorities for Scotland in an effort to improve general health.
The survey asked questions concerning participants self-assessed general health, whether they had ever suffered from cardiovascular disease (CVD) conditions or diabetes, and whether they provide care to family members, friends or neighbours because of a long-term physical condition, mental ill-health or disability (and for how many hours per week).
71% of adults described health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’, the lowest recorded since the time series began in 2008. 16% of adults reported having any CVD, 7% doctor-diagnosed diabetes, and 7% a stroke or ischaemic heart disease (IHD). Self-assessed general health declined with age, and there was an increased prevalence of CVD and IHD in more deprived areas.
The lowest recorded number of adults since 2008 describing their health as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ is a worrying trend in Scotland. This may partly be explained by an ageing population, indicated by the unsurprising correlation between older age and poorer health. Sports club and facilities might consider how they could make their activities more accessible for the older generation through concessions or through activities with less physical intensity (e.g. walking football). There is also a clear correlation between deprived areas and prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, suggesting social and health policy should prioritise its focus on supporting people from these areas.