Healthy Start Education Programme

Images of a selection of the front pages of the Healthy Start Workforce e-learning modules.



About the Healthy Start Workforce online education programme

The Healthy Start Education Programme examines the processes before, during and after pregnancy that influence a child's later risk of developing non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity, allergies and some cancers.

It explores the latest scientific evidence and shows how a mother's nutrition and physical activity affect the metabolic, physiological and neurological development of her unborn baby and the infant's long term well-being, as well as the ongoing health of the mother.

This e-learning programme gives participants a rich background knowledge and rationale to reinforce discussions with mothers and their families and whānau about why nutrition and physical activity are such critical factors during pregnancy and an infant’s early life.

Details about guidelines and resources for sharing with families are also provided.

The programme includes:

  • An introduction to the research area of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease and non-communicable diseases
  • An exploration of the role of maternal and fetal nutrition on a child’s lifelong health, including discussion on epigenetics
  • An examination  of the importance of nutrition for the mother’s health during pregnancy and post-partum, including a discussion of key macro and micro nutrients
  • An investigation of the benefits of physical activity for the health of both mother and baby
  • An assessment of the latest research on breastfeeding and its impact on infant development and the long-term health of both mother and baby
  • The introduction of complementary foods and diet during infancy, including a discussion of palate development and hunger and satiety cues.


Enrolment information

The Healthy Start Education Programme is an e-learning programme made up of eight modules.

It is free to health practitioners and educators working with mothers, children and whānau through funding from the Ministry of Health.

A certificate is awarded on completion of the course.


To do this course, you must first register with the Healthy Start Workforce Project.  You register for the course here.


If you've already registered and you want to begin the course, you can find it here.



Professional development hours/points


Midwives: The Healthy Start online education programme has been endorsed by the NZ College of Midwives for six professional development hours.  


Nurses: The Healthy Start Workforce online education programme qualifies for professional development hours.  


GPs: The Healthy Start online education programme has been endorsed by the Royal NZ College of GPs for four professional development hours.  

Health professionals will gain the knowledge needed to provide clear explanations and encourage healthy choices for life-long health.  Attendees are encouraged to attend Healthy Conversation Skills training for support to successfully approach these topics with clients and promote behaviour change.