Promoting environments that foster healthy eating

Healthy examples from the different food groupsOne of Community and Public Health’s visions is to improve the health and wellbeing of the people in our region by providing opportunities to assist people to make healthier choices. Specific work is focussed on outcomes and actions to create change in food, nutrition and physical activity environments and behaviours, such as increasing access to food (food security).

Community and Public Health staff are working towards promoting a nutrition environment which fosters healthy eating, along with resources that support actions to reduce poor nutrition that may result in chronic disease. The Key Messages for a Healthy lifestyle include:

  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods
  • Eat less fatty, salty, and sugary foods
  • Eat more vegetables and fruits
  • Exclusively breastfeed infants for six months, and introduce complementary foods while breastfeeding continues for at least one year and beyond
  • Be active every day for at least 30 minutes in as many ways as possible
  • Add some vigorous exercise for extra benefit and fitness
  • Aim to maintain a healthy weight throughout life
  • Promote and foster the development of environments that support healthy lifestyles.

Discover the 49 items on the NEEDNT list of non-essential, energy dense, nutritionally-deficient food compiled by the University of Otago.

Feeding your family for less or on a budget

Community and Public Health staff are also interested in addressing issues around access and availablilty of affordable food (food security). This involves working with disadvantaged groups such as those on low incomes and those living alone (especially men). If you are finding it hard to make your food budget stretch, then try one of the following menu plans for some new ideas.

Download some easy tasty recipes created by Community and Public Health staff.

Join the Fruit and Vegetable Co-op in greater Christchurch

The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op started in October 2011 in the Eastern suburbs to enable families and whānau to buy affordable seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables.

The Co-op was established as a partnership between Community and Public Health, the Christchurch Cathedral, and many of the wonderful communities in Christchurch.

The Fruit and Vegetable Co-op is now called Foodtogether, and operates as a stand-alone social enterprise supported by the Healthy Life Trust. It continues to run successfully all over Christchurch and now over 3,500 packs are sold every week!

Anyone can join – as an individual, with your family/ whānau, church, community group, workplace, gym, or motorcycle club.

Promoting nutrition in a variety of settings

Community and Public Health staff promote nutrition in workplaces, and community and education settings. Working in these locations has a direct impact on the health and motivation of those involved (e.g. individuals, staff, and students).

Previous work has included:

  • assisting early childhood centres in the development of edible gardens,
  • running the Appetite for Life programme,
  • supporting nutrition in school canteens, and
  • getting Year 11 students to develop a healthy meal as part of the Cooking for Families initiative.

Current initiatives are focussed on assisting workplaces in the development of wellness programmes

There is growing evidence that comprehensive workplace health promotion programs are cost effective and improve employee health. Identified benefits include increased employee satisfaction and retention, and decreased absenteeism and injuries on on the job.

Community and Public Health has developed a framework that is flexible and easily adapted to suit the needs of an organisation. The framework consists of a step-by-step process through several different elements to create a tailored health promotion programme. This approach has been shown to increase morale in the workplace as employees work together to meet the challenges of adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Advice on weight management for children and teenagers now available

The Ministry of Health have updated The Clinical Guidelines for Weight Management in New Zealand Children and Young People to highlight the importance of quality sleep for weight management and the ongoing need to monitor children’s growth.

The guidance sets an expectation for primary care to be regularly monitoring height, weight and growth for all children and young people with advice provided to parents if a child or young person is trending towards excess weight rather than waiting until a child is obese before intervening.

Tips for parents are also available on improving sleep, healthy eating and being active for children and teenagers:



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For more information, contact:

Janne Pasco
Ph: +64 3 378 6821
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Ph: +64 3 307 6902
Fax: +64 3 307 6904

Heather Allington
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Jade Winter
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Order a seasonal recipe book from the Community Health Information Centre.


Seasonal cooking in Canterbury - Autumn.

Senior Chef Cooking and Nutrition Classes for Older Adults

The Senior Chef cooking programme helps people 65 years and older to prepare appetising and nutritious meals.

The programme is so much more than cooking skills – it teaches meal planning, budgeting, shopping tips and good nutrition.

The programme runs once a week for eight weeks.

Courses are free and held in Canterbury, South Canterbury and on the West Coast.

Visit the Senior Chef website for more information.

Appetite for Life Classes on the West Coast

Appetite for Life (AFL) is a six week weight management and healthy lifestyles programme with an emphasis on health gain. The course delivered to small groups by trained facilitators and is available to both males and females of all ages.

Rather than dieting it focuses on many small lifestyle changes that add up to large improvements in health.

AFL on the West Coast is currently run free of charge by Community and Public Health. Courses run alternatively in Hokitika and Greymouth four times a year (or on demand) during the school term.

Over 90% of participants feel more confident when making food choices after the course, and the weekly taster sessions are a real highlight!

Visit the Appetite for Life website for more information or contact Jade Winter (03 768 1160).

Page last updated: 13/03/2017

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