Every pregnant woman, breastfeeding mum and child under 2 in Wolverhampton can now get free vitamins designed to give youngsters the best start in life thanks to the city's Public Health team.

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The City of Wolverhampton Council has launched a new programme offering Healthy Start vitamins free to all mums to be, mothers who breastfeed and under 2s - rather than just families on low incomes.

The Healthy Start vitamins include vitamins A, C and D and were previously only available to families eligible for the Department of Health's national Healthy Start food voucher scheme. As a result, the uptake of Healthy Start vitamins had been low, both locally and nationally. Two types of vitamins are available, tablets for mothers and liquid drops for the under 2s.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "These free vitamins will help the next generation of Wulfrunians to grow up strong and healthy, and I'm delighted that they are now available to all mums to be, breastfeeding mums and children under 2 in our city.

"Vitamins are essential nutrients the body needs in small amounts so that it can work properly. Most people will get all the vitamins they need through a healthy balanced diet, but at certain times of their lives they need more, such as in their early years or when they are pregnant.

"Healthy Start vitamins are particularly important as they contain Vitamin D, which being deficient in can lead to conditions like rickets, type 1 diabetes and other immune related diseases.

"I'd encourage mums to be, breastfeeding mums and parents of children aged up to 2 to ensure they pick up their free vitamins as soon as possible.

"Of course, as well as these vitamin supplements, people can also get vital vitamin D from the sun - which is the main source of vitamin D in humans - as well as vitamin rich foods such as oily fish like salmon, sardines, pilchards, trout and kippers, eggs, meat and milk, margarine, infant formula milk and some breakfast cereals and yoghurts."

The Healthy Start vitamins are available for free from the Maternity and Paediatric Assessment units and Antenatal Clinic at New Cross Hospital, The Gem Centre in Wednesfield, health centres, children's centres and the Refugee and Migrant Centre. They are also available from health visitors and the Healthy Lifestyles Service.

For more information about Healthy Start vitamins, please visit Type=links;Linkid=6847;Title=Healthy Start;Target=_blank; or email healthystart@wolverhampton.gov.uk.

  • released: Wednesday 10 February, 2016