Achieving Balanced Health: Simple Ways to Promote Homeostasis in Your Child’s Life

balanced health in children

So what is homeostasis? It’s all about balance.

Our body likes balance and works hard to keep it. Homeostasis is the body trying to maintain balance so you can function at your best.

Take body temperature for example.

If we’re too cold, we shiver, which makes energy to warm us, and the hairs on our arms stand up to trap warm air on the skin.

If we’re too hot, we sweat – and as the sweat evaporates on the skin, it cools us down.

How does homeostasis work?

All our bodily functions have a healthy range they like to work in to stay in the best shape. So our system changes the way it works to deal with different situations – as mentioned in the temperature example.

It does this by sending instructions to different parts of the body to change things up to restore balance. When this happens, we’ve achieved homeostasis.

If we make it too difficult for the body to reach homeostasis, we become imbalanced which can  and lead to health issues, such as obesity and diabetes.

Lack of homeostasis leads to health problems

Energy homeostasis is when the energy intake from the food we eat equals the amount of energy we expend through movement and exercise.

Continuing to eat unhealthy foods and drinks can lead to obesity, because the body is no longer able to keep the balance.


Our body produces insulin to help manage our blood sugar levels, but if we eat highly processed foods or food that contains a lot of sugar, our body struggles to keep our sugar  levels in balance.

This can lead to insulin resistance, which happens when the cells hang on to glucose because they can’t easily release it. If this continues, it could result in diabetes as the body can no longer manage the sugar levels.

Exercise is important for homeostasis

Exercise helps to keep our bodies in balance.

During exercise, homeostasis is managed by the increase in breathing and heart rates, and producing sweat.

The increased metabolism achieved by exercise means we burn calories quicker, and if our food intake consists of healthy foods, then this helps us lose weight.

Life changes can support homeostasis

When we eat high-sugar or processed foods often and don’t exercise regularly, it can be challenging to break these habits. Being consistent and making small steps towards a healthier life makes it more manageable.

When trying to change habits in children, changes are unlikely to happen overnight, so be supportive and patient, and celebrate every win, however small.

Here are some practical ways you can keep your body, and your children’s bodies in balance.

  1. Encourage a healthy and nutritious diet. Eating a range of healthy foods every day gives our body the best chance of staying in balance and working at its optimum.
  2. Allow your child to take the reins. Offer healthy choices so your child has a say in what they eat. When you're busy, it's easy to simply put a plate of food down in front of your child and expect them to eat it. Giving options however, allows your child to take some control over their eating and encourages a positive relationship with food.
  3. Try something new.  Introduce new foods along with healthy food your child already likes. You can model this by doing it together and having fun with new flavours.
  4. Manage snack times.  Keep snacks healthy and avoid giving them too close to meal times.  Snacks high in protein and fibre – nuts, apple slices with peanut butter, unsalted popcorn, carrot sticks – will keep your child fuller for longer. Children will eat what’s available at home so only provide healthy snack options in the pantry.
  5. Share meal preparation. Include your child in the cooking process. This not only gives you time together, but they are also more likely to try a new food if they’ve helped to prepare it. Help your child see how healthy options can be fun to make as well as delicious. Putting together their own healthy school lunches is a great way of encouraging eating well away from home.
  6. Make the effort to eat together. Spending time as a family and enjoying food together encourages children to eat mindfully and promotes healthy eating habits. This is also the perfect opportunity to find out about your child’s day and share your own experiences. You might be able to identify if they are stressed about a situation and help them to manage it. Stress can lead to cravings for sugar or fatty foods so dealing with it early could help avoid unhealthy eating later.
  7. Encourage regular exercise. Not everyone loves putting on running shoes and jogging around the park. But there are lots of ways you can encourage exercise for your child as well as giving exercise opportunities without them even realising it, like playing games outside, walking the dog, or doing some gardening.
  8. Walk to school. It’s so easy to pop the kids in the car and drop them at the school gate, picking them up again at the end of the day. But getting to school without driving helps contribute to daily exercise. If you live too far away to realistically walk, park in a suitable spot and walk from there. Exercise also increases concentration levels and so is a great way to start the school day.
  9. Focus on having fun. Don’t make exercise into a chore to be finished. Try to find an activity your child enjoys or that you can do as a family. Ask what their friends enjoy as they might want to join in with them.

Need help in achieving balanced health for you and your family?

At Childhood Obesity Prevention, we understand that sometimes you and your children may need extra support to make sustainable changes. We have a range of support options available to suit your family, from self-guiding your journey to healthier eating habits with our book Ride to Life, through to personal consultations.