How Many Calories Do I Need Per Day?

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       A central question that is often asked is how many calories should I consume per day? The simple answer is the number of calories to consume depends on individual's age, gender, level of physical activity, current health condition, and whether or not if one is trying to maintain, lose or even gain weight for some reason. Even the day-to-day caloric requirements for an individual changes so an average caloric intake that a person requires based on the above criterion can be used as general rule of thumb on how many calories are needed by person per day. In general, children and teens have increasing caloric requirements until they reach age of 30 stemming primarily from increased metabolism of bodily growth and hormonal changes that trigger physiological adaptations. While in adulthood, there is decreasing need for calories that begins after age 30 and declines due to reduced metabolism with advancing age. Obviously, if you are trying to or want lose weight, then you have to consume less calories than you burn based on activity level per day or burn more calories by increased activity than amount you take in per day or combination of the two in the right balance leads to efficient shedding of excess pounds.

     The below table provides general guidelines about how much calories are used per day by gender, age, and level of activity. The calories required per day are amount the body of "average, healthy" person would burn under different lifestyle scenarios. The standard for "average, healthy" person in each category was determined by median height and weight for the age group up to age of 18. For ages beyond 18, median weight and height for that height level were used to give Body Mass Index of 22.5 and 21.5 for males and females, respectively. The level of physical activity is classified into three levels: sedentary or minimal activity, moderately active, and active level. A sedentary activity level includes necessary bodily activities along with light physical activities for daily living like general cooking, eating, bathing, washing dishes and the like. While moderately active level includes the sedentary level of activity plus some form of aerobic activity like walking 1-2 miles per day, shooting basketballs, few hours of light gardening or such activities described elsewhere here. By contrast, active lifestyle includes necessary bodily activities along with light physical activities of day-to-day living plus high level of aerobic activity like freestyle swimming for 30-40 minutes, walking 3-4 miles in a hour, playing full of game of tennis or similar such activities. The caloric estimates are rounded to nearest 200 calories and based on formula utilized by Institute of Medicine (IOM).



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Estimated Calorie Requirements (in kilocalories) for Each Gender and Age

Group at Three Levels of Physical Activity

 

Gender

Age (years)

Activity Level

 

Sedentary

Moderately Active

Active

 

Child

2-3

1,000

1,000 – 1,400

1,000 – 1,400

 

Female

4 – 8

1,200

1,400 – 1,600

1,400 – 1,800

 

Female

9-13

1,600

1,600 – 2,000

1,800 – 2,000

 

Female

14-18

1,800

2,000

2,400

 

Female

19-30

2,000

2,000 – 2,200

2,400

 

Female

31-50

1,800

2,000

2,200

 

Female

51+

1,600

1,800

2,000 – 2,200

 

Male

4-8

1,400

1,400 – 1,600

1,600 – 2,000

 

Male

9-13

1,800

1,800 – 2,200

2,000 – 2,600

 

Male

14-18

2,200

2,400 – 2,800

2,800 – 3,200

 

Male

19-30

2,400

2,600 – 2,800

3,000

 

Male

31-50

2,200

2,400 – 2,600

2,800 – 3,000

 

Male

51+

2,000

2,200 – 2,400

2,400 – 2,800

 
 

Adapted from: HHS/USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005

 


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Thank you for visiting this website. This site is for all those individuals who are interested in or struggling to lose weight. There is lot of incomplete or downright misinformation about weight loss on the internet, hence I have sought to provide you with the most relevant, factual, and practical information on ways to lose excess body fat, maintain ideal body weight for your body type, and live an overall healthy life. Do look around this site and read or explore the information put together for your benefit. Stay tuned since more tools and relevant data for long-term weight loss will be seen here. Your journey on the weight loss path can begin here.

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I am devoted and passionate about healthcare issues, believing in living healthy lifestyle, love to try and eat nutritious foods or recipes, and being advocate for truth on any given topic. My formal background is in biomedical field with Bachelor's and Ph.D. in areas of biochemistry, molecular genetics, and cell biology. I have extensive experiences in basic and clinical research in various areas of medicine, truly understand, and know the science behind human nutrition, exercise physiology, weight gain, and means to lose weight. I would like to present comprehensive information, methods, and examples for living healthy lifestyle and losing that unwanted extra weight. Feel free to contact me with your questions, concerns or comments.

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