Giving pregnant women and kids a healthy start

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Pregnant women and young families in Angus could benefit from free vitamins and vegetables thanks to a NHS Tayside that has been relaunched.

An event, held at Whitehills Health and Community Care Centre in Forfar, promoted Healthy Start - a Government scheme to provide eligible families with vouchers that can be used in shops to help pay towards milk, formula milk and fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables.

The scheme also provides coupons to exchange for vitamin supplements through community pharmacies.

This is underpinned with ongoing advice and information on subjects such as breastfeeding and healthy eating.

Healthy Start vouchers and coupons are provided to pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and families with children up to their fourth birthday who receive income related benefits.

Young women who are under eighteen and pregnant are eligible, regardless of income.

Healthy Start womens vitamin tablets contain: Folic acid: reduces the chance of your baby having spina bifida, a birth defect where the spine doesn’t form properly;

Vitamin C: helps maintain healthy tissue in the body;

And, vitamin D: helps your body to absorb calcium and so supports your baby’s bones to develop properly.

Healthy Start childrens vitamin drops contain: Vitamin A: for growth, vision in dim light and healthy skin;

Vitamin C: helps maintain healthy tissue in the body;

And vitamin D: for strong bones and teeth.

All pharmacies in Tayside can supply free healthy start vitamins for women and children who are eligible under the Healthy Start scheme.

Families who do not qualify for Healthy Start can still buy both the women’s and children’s vitamins from the pharmacies.

NHS Tayside’s maternal and infant nutrition programme manager Carol Barnett said, “Vitamins are essential nutrients that help our bodies work properly. Even though we can get lots of vitamins from a healthy balanced diet, certain people still might not get everything they need at certain times in their life – such as pregnant women, a new mum or a small child.

“The Healthy Start scheme means that access to vitamins and healthy food is easier for those who need it.”

For more information on the Healthy Start scheme and to find out who is eligible, visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk