Healthy Active Learning

What is Healthy Active Learning?

Supporting schools, kura and early learning services to improve child and youth wellbeing through healthy eating and quality physical activity.

Healthy Active Learning (HAL) is a new Wellbeing Budget initiative that will promote and improve healthy eating and physical activity in schools, kura, kōhanga reo and ELSs across Aotearoa. HAL is a joint Ministry of Health (Health), Ministry of Education (Education) and Sport New Zealand (Sport NZ) initiative – a new investment over four years. The HAL initiative is based on evidence showing children’s nutrition and physical activity are linked to both academic achievement and improved physical and mental health.


Research shows many New Zealand children and young people are not sufficiently active and/or have a poor diet. For example, only seven percent of young people aged 5 to 18 are meeting the New Zealand guidelines for physical activity through sport, exercise and active recreation and 54% of children aged 2-14 had a fizzy drink at least once in the last week.


The school and ELS environment, particularly in relation to the food and drink available or for sale, is often not consistent with, nor does it reinforce or support the curriculum messages, learning, and child wellbeing. Research suggests the most frequently available foods and drinks in many schools are unhealthy.


All schools and ELS are involved in the provision of, or education about, food and drink in some way. 40% of schools have food and drink policies but most fail to provide clear guidance about providing healthy food and drinks. Similarly, few ELS have comprehensive nutrition policies.

Schools, kura, Māori medium schools, Kōhanga reo and ELSs will be supported through new curriculum resources, a new health promotion workforce and healthy food and drink toolkits. HAL is part of a wider work programme across physical activity, nutrition, and health and physical education. The long-term outcomes of HAL are that tamariki and rangatahi:

  • Are actively and positively engaged in learning
  • Make positive ad informed choices, and bout food and physical activity
  • Schools have a healthy food environment

Public Health is contributing a health promotion workforce and toolkit. The Ministry of Health has developed toolkits to support education settings to adopt and implement a healthy food and water-only (and plain milk) policy. The toolkits (two Māori medium and two English medium) will be available on the Ministry of Educations website. Public Healthy Unit’s will each determine the level of support that they are able to offer education settings in the area, based on resourcing, demand, need, equity considerations, and in consultation with Regional Education Coordinators, and other relevant agencies.



For more information contact the Te Whatu Ora Whanganui Healthy Active Learning Advisor