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Supporting balanced health

Supporting balanced health

See the full section on supporting balanced health in the Balanced Female Health handbook or read a summary of key points below. 


What does imbalanced health look like?  

A young person with imbalanced health:  

  • has prolonged tiredness and fatigue 
  • often gets inadequate sleep (less than 8 hours) 
  • may have irritability or mood changes 
  • has an irregular or absent menstrual cycle 
  • has recurring injuries or illness 
  • doesn’t make time for physical activity, hobbies or social connection  

Who is at risk of imbalanced health?  

Young people at risk of imbalanced health are often individuals who: 

  • are involved in early specialisation - usually in one sport. There is greater risk in activities with an aesthetic or weight restricted focus e.g., gymnastics, ballet. 
  • participate in multiple sports and activities, with over-scheduling of commitments. 
  • have multiple life stressors e.g., physical activity demands, family stress, academic pressure, relationship conflict. 
  • exhibit perfectionist tendencies. They tend to be high achievers in multiple areas of life. 
  • move to higher level programs or training groups. The number of hours and intensity often increase. 
  • have previous injuries (especially bone stress injury) and recurrent illnesses e.g., coughs and colds. 
  • have engaged in disordered eating practices such as restricted eating, avoiding food groups, reward eating. 
  • demonstrate disordered training practices e.g., over-training, skipping rest days or signs of exercise addiction. 

How to assess balanced health  

As coaches, instructors, or parents you can ask these questions to assess overall balance and better understand a young person’s health and wellbeing. 


  • Are they enjoying participating in their sport or physical activity?
  • Are they motivated to attend and / or compete?
  • Is their activity balanced and are all elements covered? i.e., strength, core, fitness, fun.


  • How are they eating to support their physical activity?
  • Do they avoid meals or specific food groups?
  • Do they have energy throughout training and games?
  • Can they recover between activities?

Menstrual Cycle

  • Are they experiencing regular menstrual cycles?
  • Are they taking a hormonal contraception which may mask issues of the menstrual cycle?


  • Are they getting 8+ hours of sleep per night?
  • Do they feel fatigued or not recovered?
  • Do they have at least one rest day per week?


  • Do they have a good support network?
  • Do they have a trusted adult who they can talk to if needed?

Social Connection

  • Are they connecting with friends and social groups?
  • Are they feeling any pressures around participating in sport or other physical activitiese.g., body image, playing with friends, loss of fun?

Injury / Illness

  • Have they been regularly injured or unwell?
  • Is there a history of bone injury e.g., shin splints, stress reaction or stress fracture?
  • Do they have a prolonged injury affecting participation and / or wellbeing?

Other Interests

  • Are they engaging in social activities and down time away from sport or physical activity?
  • Do they come back motivated and engaged?

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