Pregnant women and new mums with babies less than 12 months old along with all children aged between 6 months and 4 years can now get free vitamins under a council scheme which aims to beat vitamin D deficiency and give babies and children a healthier start.
This scheme is not means tested and every family can access the scheme whether they are receiving benefits or not.
DBI residents can pick up their free vitamins at the Chestnut Centre or Cohen’s Chemist at Sheepridge or can speak with their doctor, midwife or health visitor.
Figures from health sources show that up to a quarter of the population has low levels of vitamin D in their blood and the majority of pregnant women do not take vitamin D supplements. Vitamin D is important as it helps our bodies absorb calcium which in turn keeps bones and teeth healthy. Young children and babies who don’t get enough vitamin D can get softened bones and in severe cases this can lead to bone problems such as rickets.
Healthy Start vitamins are specially designed for young children, pregnant women and breastfeeding mums and contain the specific supplements as recommended by the Department of Health, including vitamin D.
This free vitamin scheme runs alongside the national Healthy Start programme which is designed to help low income families by providing vouchers to help towards the cost of buying milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, infant formula and vitamins.
Any family receiving benefits such as income support, job seekers allowance or tax credits can check if they are eligible for the national scheme at www.healthystart.nhs.uk. Alternatively you can pick up a leaflet at the Chestnut Centre or Cohen’s chemist which includes information on how you can claim