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Balanced female health

Supporting balanced female health

Sport NZ recognises that female-specific needs in community sport are unique.  As coaches, parents, instructors and administrators, understanding female health is critical to being able to respond and provide support for young people to be active in ways that boost their wellbeing. 

Balanced Female Health is a new resource for adults supporting young people in community sport. Developed by health professionals working in the sport sector, this resource covers changes throughout female puberty, the menstrual cycle, and factors that impact the physical health and mental wellbeing of all young people. 

A team in red huddle around a person in blue with an ipad
Who is this resource for? 

Balanced Female Health is designed to support coaches, instructors, and parents to understand the health and development of young people who are physically active through community sport. 

This resource will help you to: 

  • understand what defines balanced female health in community sport 
  • strengthen your knowledge and understanding of female specific development throughout puberty and adolescence 
  • understand the importance of the menstrual cycle for health and performance, both mentally and physically 
  • gain practical tips to support balanced health, reduce the risk illness and injury, and raise awareness of female specific health issues 
  • strengthen your knowledge and understanding of nutrition and recovery principles that support energy demands during participation in sport 
  • gain awareness on how to best support mental wellbeing in sport 
  • learn skills to identify at-risk individuals and provide practical tips and resources to support those requiring further assistance. 

What does balanced health look like?

A young person with balanced health:  

  • balances training with recovery 
  • gets 8+ hours of sleep  
  • fuels adequately to maintain energy 
  • has a healthy and regular menstrual cycle  
  • rarely has injuries or illness 
  • has time for hobbies, relaxation and social connection 

Female specific needs in sport 

Historically, research in sport science has been conducted on male athletes and the findings were applied to female athletes for many years. Current and future research looks to understand the unique female needs in sport and physical activity.  

Key differences in females that affect health and wellbeing:  

  • Females are unique because of their menstrual cycle and the hormones that are produced. The menstrual cycle is an important indicator of health. 
  • Females change (and move) differently during puberty and need to be supported well during this time of life. 
  • Females have different injury risks and challenges, particularly with bone health and major ligament injuries (ACL).  
  • Females respond differently than males socially and emotionally in and out of sport, which affects ongoing engagement in physical activity. 


The Balanced Female Health handbook includes information and practical tips on the key topics below.

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