A pregnant woman helps an older child cut vegetables in the kitchen.  When, what and how first foods are introduced is important.

Pregnancy a powerful time 

Pre-conception, pregnancy and the early years are key periods in which healthy lifestyle choices can positively influence a mother and child's life-long health.

Good nutrition and physical activity can help to reduce the risk of both the mother and child developing diseases later in life such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Some cancers.

The great news is that healthy eating and activity choices can be simple, affordable, and achievable for all cultures and family situations.

It's becoming more and more important for maternity and child health professionals to include discussions about healthy lifestyles in their work with mothers, infants, families and whanau.


Find out more about what this means for you

newborn baby

Could mother's bacteria protect
c-section baby from future obesity risk

A team of New Zealand researchers will investigate whether bacteria from a mother's vagina could help to protect babies born by caesarean section from a greater risk of obesity.

There is growing evidence linking c-sections to an increased risk of the baby later developing obesity and immune disorders.

A large international study last year found children born by c-section were up to 25 percent more likely to become obese than those born by vaginal delivery.

Now a research team led by the University of Auckland's Liggins Institute will test a possible reason for this link.
“The hypothesis is that babies born by c-section miss out on receiving health-promoting bacteria from their mother’s vagina during birth,” says Professor Cutfield.

Read more about the study looking at link between bacteria, c-section and future health here.  

Healthy Start Workforce Project Registration Heading

The Healthy Start Workforce Project offers free-of-charge workforce development programmes.


Our education programme explores the role of good nutrition and physical activity during conception, pregnancy and infancy in reducing health risks later in life. 


Our Healthy Conversation Skills workshop enhances your skills to support clients to make lasting behaviour changes, especially in the area of nutrition and physical activity. 

Find out more:  



News and events bar
Our Partners
Partners logo Oct 2015