A qualitative study of uptake of free vitamins in England

P E Jessiman, Ailsa M Cameron, Meg Wiggins, Patricia J Lucas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To identify reasons why eligible families
are not accessing free ‘Healthy Start’ vitamin
supplementation (providing vitamins A, C and D) in
Design Qualitative study using in-depth interviews.
Setting 13 primary care trusts in England.
Participants Purposive sample of 15 Healthy Start
coordinators, 50 frontline health and children’s
professionals and 107 parents.
Results Vitamin take-up was low across all research
sites, reported as below 10% of eligible beneficiaries for
free vitamins. Reasons identified by both parents and
professionals included (1) poor accessibility of vitamins,
(2) low promotion of the scheme by health professionals,
(3) a lack of awareness among eligible families, and
(4) low motivation among mothers to take vitamins for
themselves during pregnancy or for children under
4 years old.
Conclusions Low uptake rates can be explained by
poor accessibility of vitamins and lack of awareness and
motivation to take vitamin supplements among eligible
families. Universal provision (at least for pregnant
women) and better training for health professionals are
identified as potential solutions worthy of further
research and evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1136/archdischild-2013-303838
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Early online date23 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative study of uptake of free vitamins in England'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Healthy Start

    Lucas, P. J., Cameron, A. M., Wiggins, M. & Tyler, K.


    Project: Research


Cite this