A Better Start - E Tipu E Rea




Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment


Barry Milne, Nichola Shackleton, Jessica McLay, Stephanie D'Souza


The University of Auckland: Wayne Cutfield (Principal Investigator), Sally Merry (Principal Investigator)

University of Canterbury: Gail Gillon (Principal Investigator)

University of Otago: Barry Taylor (Principal Investigator), Rick Audas, Sheree Gibb, Jesse Kokaua, Nick Bowden, Rose Richards, Justine Camp


A Better Start’s mission is to find better ways to predict, prevent and treat obesity, learning and mental health problems in children and teenagers. We are one of the National Science Challenges designed to find solutions to large, complex issues facing New Zealanders. Our research strategy is new for New Zealand because it will target at-risk children early, engage their communities, draw together experts from different disciplines and institutions, and take a holistic approach to obesity, learning and mental health difficulties, which are usually studied in isolation.


Shackleton N, Milne BJ, Audas R, Derraik JGB, Zhu T, Taylor RW, Mortan SMB, Glover M, Cutfield WS, Taylor B (2018). Improving rates of overweight, obesity, and extreme obesity in New Zealand 4-year-old children 2010–2016. Paediatric Obesity.



Shackleton N (2017). Improving rates of obesity in New Zealand 4-year-old children

Milne B (2017). Seasonal effects on obesity in New Zealand 4 year old children 



A Better Start