Eat Well, Start Well.

by Jan Chapple. Lead Paediatric Dietitian, Argyll and Bute HSCP

The Active & Independent Living Programme [AILP] was published last year and detailed the transformational plans for AHP’s working as agents of change, co-creating wellbeing with the people of Scotland. Within it three Wellbeing Approaches, that span the life course, were identified: Move and Improve, Eat well and Make Every Communication Count.

Eat Well, Starting Well suggests that all AHP’s can and should contribute to optimising early maternal nutrition, breastfeeding, weaning and healthy eating for mums and children.  Working in collaboration with colleagues, including Midwives, health Visitors, School and Community nurses, to build on successful interventions and, where needed, develop multidisciplinary programmes to support this agenda.

1There are many current nutrition related campaigns, guidance documents, policies and frameworks which some AHP’s are already challenged to deliver, monitor and report on. The Maternal and Infant Nutrition Framework (MINF), Children and Young People’s Improvement Collaborative (CYPIC) and Child Health Weight (CHW) are examples of Government funded initiatives which have highlighted the importance of nutrition, beyond optimal growth, acknowledging the impact nutrition can have on life-course.

It is not the intention to detract from these or any other existing initiatives by creating a duplicate initiative under a new name. However there is clear advantage to using this initiative and any associated funding to highlight, reinvigorate and fortify ours and others contribution to the existing initiatives and resources.

3Evidence suggests that providing knowledge alone is often not enough to evoke action and that key nutrition messages are known by the majority of the general public, including children, however we do not generally see this knowledge transferring to sustained behavioural change and as result are still seeing significant preventable nutritional complications in pregnancy, infancy and early childhood and beyond. We need to consider how best to stimulate sustainable change that has demonstrable impact.

The first meeting of the Eat Well, Starting Well working group took place on the 9th of January, they agreed the following ambition:

All AHP’s will be public health responsible workforce making every contact count, enhancing and contributing their unique knowledge and skills to new and existing public health programmes that will enable Scottish families to feel empowered to make informed food choices that ensure they achieve their best possible health and wellbeing outcomes across the life-course.

It is also not our intention to burden the workforce with additional duties but to equip AHP’s and our colleagues with the knowledge, skills and resources that help them support the whole person whilst in their care and to demonstrate their contribution to early intervention and prevention across the life-course.

To make Eat Well, Start Well a success we are looking to expand our working group to include AHP’s from all backgrounds to share their unique contribution. If you would like to find out more please contact me at



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