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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Free fruit for poor families

27th November 2006

17082006_mentalhealthexercise1.jpgA new government initiative is to provide poor families with free fruit and vegetables.

The Healthy Start scheme will provide parents with vouchers to buy fruit and vegetables as well as milk and formula for babies.  The vouchers will be worth £2.80 per week and will be made available to lower-income families with children aged between one and four.  Those with children under a year old will receive 2 weekly vouchers to help cover the costs of buying milk or formula.  The Department of Health also plans to make vitamin supplements available under the same scheme.

Pregnant women will also benefit from the new initiative and vouchers will be made available to all pregnant girls under the age of 18, regardless of their income.  Research has shown that pregnant teenagers are nutritionally vulnerable and at risk of having babies with a low birth weight. 

Those benefiting from the scheme will be able to spend their vouchers at up to 20,000 retailers including supermarkets, greengrocers, markets, milk deliverers and chemists.

The government hopes the scheme will give all people an opportunity to eat healthily and provide poorer families with a greater choice of healthy foods.  Public Health Minister, Caroline Flint, said, “Poor diet can have a real impact on people’s health.  This new scheme will mean that children can get milk and fresh fruit from the cradle up, helping to give them the best possible start in life.?

The Healthy Start programme will replace the Welfare Food Scheme, originally set up in World War II to protect children's health during rationing.  More than 500,000 families are expected to transfer to the new scheme.


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Article Information

Title: Free fruit for poor families
Article Id: 1298
Date Added: 27th Nov 2006


BBC News

Health Service Journal

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