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Pregnant women will get USD 244 food grants

Pregnant women in the UK will be offered a GBP 120 ìfruit and vegetableî grant to improve the nutrition of unborn babies in a new government scheme

Pregnant women in the UK will be offered a GBP 120 (USD 244) "fruit and vegetable" grant to improve the nutrition of unborn babies in a new government scheme.

By 2009, all 630,000 women who become pregnant annually in England and Wales will receive the one-off payment at seven months' gestation, along with advice on maintaining a balanced diet.

The Health in Pregnancy Grant is intended to raise birth weights in poor areas and prevent heart disease and other problems developing later in life.

One in 12 babies in England and Wales is born underweight, sometimes because their growth in the womb has been retarded by a lack of nutrients. Risks in later life for such children are greater infant mortality and raised risk of long-term heart problems, diabetes, lung conditions and cognitive disorders.

The Department of Health (DoH) has not revealed if those awarded the grant will have to change their behaviours, which has prompted critics to say the grant could be spent on anything, including cigarettes or alcohol.

Defending its plan, the DoH has said that while women should eat healthily throughout pregnancy, medical advice indicated that nutrition became more important from the 25th week of gestation.

10th September 2007

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