The present study aimed to explore the association between healthy lifestyle pattern and childhood early onset of puberty. Based on a cohort study in Xiamen of China, a total of 1294 children was followed for three and a half years. Children’s lifestyles, including dietary behaviour, physical activity, sleep duration, smoking and drinking behaviour and sedentary behaviour, were collected by questionnaires. Healthy lifestyle pattern was determined mainly according to the recommendations by the Dietary Guidelines for Chinese school-age children and Canadian Guidelines for children and youth. The pubertal development was assessed by clinical examination according to Tanner stages. The association between pre-pubertal lifestyle and early onset of puberty was estimated using linear regression and log-binomial regression. We found that children who adhered to a healthy lifestyle had a 0·36-year delay of the age of puberty onset (coef = 0·36, 95 % CI (0·08, 0·65)) and 53 % lower risk of early onset of puberty (risk ratio = 0·47, 95 % CI (0·27, 0·80)), compared with those who had a poor lifestyle. However, the beneficial effect of favourable lifestyles on the early onset of puberty was found only in boys with normal weight. Boys who adhered to active physical activity and low sedentary behaviour had a relatively delayed age of puberty onset (coef = 0·49, 95 % CI (0·26, 0·72)). This is the first time to find that healthy lifestyle pattern was associated with a substantially lower risk of early onset of puberty, especially in boys with normal weight. Advocating an integrated healthy lifestyle is essential for the development of children.