Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, welcomes the Labour Government’s Healthy Start programme to encourage healthy eating from the early stages of a child’s life. Many families in West Lancashire will benefit from this scheme covering 600,000 people across the country.
The Government is investing nearly £130 million to encourage healthy eating amongst children in low income households. Healthy Start will provide eligible pregnant women with vouchers to spend on milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and infant formula. The vouchers will have a face value of £2.80, and 1 is received each week. They can be exchanged in any retail outlet that has applied to participate.
Rosie, a former Chair of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said:
“A poor diet can have a real impact on people’s health. This new scheme will give many children the best possible opportunity to enjoy a healthy diet from an early age that will benefit their health over the years as they grow up.”
“Having worked in the health service for many years, latterly at the Women’s hospital I know how important it is for pregnant women to eat a healthy diet for the sake of their baby’s health. This scheme recognises that pregnant women under 18 are nutritionally vulnerable and at risk of having babies with a low birth weight.”
“The new scheme will allow families a choice when it comes to the healthy foods they buy with their voucher whether it is milk, fresh fruit and vegetables. We hear a lot about obesity in children and their poor diet and the need to ban junk food ads from television. Programmes like Healthy Start are the way to change children’s eating habits and ensure they can get fresh fruit and vegetables.”
Pregnant women and families can use the Health Start website to check if they qualify, download an application form, find local shops participating in the scheme. www.healthystart.nhs.uk.