MSP praises NHS Tayside work on Healthy Start Initiative

25 January 2010

Marlyn Glen has praised the work of NHS Tayside to encourage healthier nutrition amongst women of child-bearing age , pregnant women and children under 5 in disadvantaged areas.

She has been corresponding with the health board about how £1.5 million has been and is being allocated during the three year period 2008-11 in Dundee and throughout the rest of the health board to increase uptake of the four year-old Healthy Start initiative and to increase the degree of breastfeeding.

Over £793,000 of the £1.5 million is to be allocated to across Dundee, Angus and Perth and Kinross in the coming financial year 2010-2011.

Ms. Glen said,

"Poor diet can have real consequences for people’s health and life chances.

"Intervention at an early age can help prevent serious problems occurring later.

" A healthy diet is particularly important for low income pregnant women and families with young children

" The initiative offers them more opportunities of healthier food, gaining advice from health professionals ,and giving their children the best possible beginning in life through breastfeeding."

NHS Tayside described the scheme as "the first time that more vulnerable mums, pregnant and the under-5s will have a co-ordinate programme of opportunities, specially-tailored services, and access to even more support , which will be delivered in partnership with local authorities, other partners, and the communities themselves."

In the period 2008-11, in Dundee £614,000 has been allocated for three priorities

*£390,000 for a "GrowWell Cafe to provide breastfeeding mothers with a safe and friendly environment where pregnant women, new mothers and their pre-school school children can access information , cooking sessions and other activities

*£212,000 on "intensive breastfeeding support in the first two weeks of birth and the development of a breastfeeding clinic to encourage pro-active problem solving."

*£12,000 on "Good Health and Nutrition Activities at HELM working with young men and women aged 15-18 years and young parent groups.

NHS Tayside continued,

"The funding will enable an increase in the number of support workers such as breastfeeding support workers, nutritionists and other dedicated staff going out into the communities to help young families in their day-to-day lives.

"This approach of bringing services right into the heart of communities is a shift in how health care workers and others can help families, and means that nutrition can be tailored to the particular needs of communities across Tayside."

The number of households in Tayside receiving Healthy Start vouchers which can be used to buy milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and infant formula is 2,155

Across the whole of NHS Tayside, £600,00 has been allocated on appointing a manager for the programme, developing nutrition training, and an evaluation of the programme.

£125,000 has gone to on the Healthy Start Vitamin Distribution

£182,000 has gone to a Maternal Obesity Weight Management Service for obese pregnant women and after birth weight management groups.


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