Young children and pregnant women in Devon and Cornwall will be offered milk, infant formula and fresh fruit and vegetables as part of the Healthy Start programme launched yesterday by public health minister Caroline Flint.
The programme is aimed at low income families with children under five. They will receive vouchers that they can redeem for milk and fresh produce at participating shops and pharmacies.
Healthy Start replaces the Welfare Food Scheme under which mothers and their children could only claim milk and infant formula. The new programme extends entitlement to fresh fruit and vegetables, and also increases the number of outlets where vouchers can be redeemed.
The programme will be rolled out to the rest of England, Scotland and Wales later next year.
Caroline Flint said: “Poor diet has a huge impact on health. Ensuring a healthy diet from the very beginning of life will set children up for a healthy future. Giving children a healthy start will help tackle health inequalities caused by poor diet especially around infant mortality which is disproportionately high among mothers in younger age groups.”