© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Allergic diseases are a major cause of morbidity in the developed world, now affecting up to 40 % of the population with no evidence that this is abating. If anything, the prevalence of early onset allergic diseases such as eczema and food allergy appears to be still increasing. This is almost certainly due to the changing modern environment and lifestyle factors, acting to promote immune dysfunction through early perturbations in immune maturation, immune tolerance and regulation. This early propensity to inflammation may also have implications for the rising risk of other inflammatory non-communicable diseases (NCDs) later in life. Identifying risk factors and pathways for preventing early onset immune disease like allergy is likely to have benefits for many aspects of human health, particularly as many NCDs share similar risk factors. This review focuses on recent advances in primary intervention strategies for promoting early immune health and preventing allergic disease, highlighting the current evidence-based guidelines where applicable and areas requiring further investigation.