Position: Nutritionist, Field: Communications, Organisation: New Zealand Nutrition Foundation.

Carolyn Cairncross developed a passion for science during her high school years in Melbourne, Australia. University study followed, and Carolyn graduated with a BSc in chemistry from Deakin University.

A move to New Zealand allowed Carolyn to further her science career as well as her developing interest in human nutrition. Enrolling in the nutritional science master’s degree programme offered by Massey University, Carolyn was able to carry out research into the eating habits of a group of adolescents heavily engaged in sport.

As a result of this work, Carolyn believes it is crucial that teenagers be taught how to cook – the skills developed would allow for the proper preparation of meals at home, build self-esteem and serve as a pathway to healthier eating in adult life.

To get our bodies into the best possible shape we need to have, in our everyday lives, a balanced diet and physical activity.

Continuing with her interest in community nutrition, Carolyn worked as a nutrition educator in the Green Prescription programme that began in 1998. This programme aimed at increasing the activity level of people, especially those with diet-related health problems.

Apart from her role with the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, Carolyn lectures at the Auckland University of Technology and her interest in sport nutrition means she is often asked to give talks to groups of athletes.

In between fulfilling her Foundation commitments, Carolyn plays competition tennis, enjoys walking her dog and, most of all, is a dedicated mum to her teenage daughters.

As a New Zealand Nutrition Foundation representative, her advice to teenagers is that the best way to get all the nutrients you need for a healthy body is to eat a wide variety of foods, especially plenty of fruit and vegetables.

This article is based on information current in 2011.

    Published 18 March 2011