The seriousness and scale of the physical, psychological, economic and societal consequences relating to poor diets, inactivity and obesity is unprecedented. Consequently, the contextual factors underpinning the work of a nutritionist in the civil service are complex and significant; however, there are real opportunities to make a difference and help improve the health of the nation. The present paper describes the delivery of public health nutrition through two work programmes, namely action to support young people develop healthier lifestyle choices and more recently the investigation and deployment of local insights to develop action to tackle obesity. Combining the application of nutrition expertise along with broader skills and approaches has enabled the translation of research and evidence into programmes of work to better the public's health. It is evident that the appropriate evaluation of such approaches has helped to deliver engaging and practical learning opportunities for young people. Furthermore, efforts to build on local intelligence and seek collaborative development can help inform the evidence base and seek to deliver public health approaches, which resonate with how people live their lives.