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Healthy Start

Healthy Start provides a nutritional safety net and encouragement for breastfeeding and healthy eating to around 600,000 women and children in over 450,000 very low income, and disadvantaged families across the UK.  It offers vouchers that can be put towards the cost of milk, fruit and vegetables in any one of around 30,000 individual participating retail outlets, including small shops and businesses as well as major supermarkets.

Following a recent public consultation the law will change on 6 April 2011 to allow families on Healthy Start to buy plain frozen fruit and vegetables with their vouchers, as well as the foods already available through the scheme. The change means that from 6 April they will be able to spend the vouchers on products such as plain frozen peas, carrots, beans and raspberries. Any frozen fruit and vegetable products containing added fat, salt or sugar, or other extra ingredients (such as oven chips, battered onion rings, seasoned stir fry vegetables) will be excluded.

The aim is to encourage low income families supported by Healthy Start to eat more fruit and vegetables through increasing the choice of products available.

The scheme also provides coupons that can be exchanged via the NHS locally for free Healthy Start vitamin supplements containing the appropriate amounts of the recommended vitamins A, C and D (for children) and C, D and folic acid (for pregnant women and new mothers).

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