TABLE 5-2

Estimated Calorie Needs per Day by Age, Gender, and Physical Activity Levela

GenderAge (Years)Calorie Requirements (kcals) by Activity Levelb
SedentaryModerately ActiveActive
Child2–31000–12001000–1400c1000–1400c
Femaled4–81200–14001400–16001400–1800
9–131400–16001600–20001800–2200
14–18180020002400
19–301800–20002000–22002400
Male4–81200–14001400–16001600–2000
9–131600–20001800–22002000–2600
14–182000–24002400–28002800–3200
19–302400–26002600–28003000
  • Estimated amounts of calories needed to maintain caloric balance for various gender and age groups at three different levels of physical activity. The estimates are rounded to the nearest 200 calories. An individual's calorie needs may be higher or lower than these average estimates.

  • a Based on Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) equations, using reference heights (average) and reference weights (health) for each age/gender group. For children and adolescents, reference height and weight vary. For adults, the reference man is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 154 pounds. The reference woman is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 126 pounds. EER equations are from the Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 2002.

  • b Sedentary means a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. Moderately active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking ∼1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life. Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking >3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.

  • c The calorie ranges shown are to accommodate needs of different ages within the group. For children and adolescents, more calories are needed at older ages. For adults, fewer calories are needed at older ages.

  • d Estimates for females do not include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Reproduced with permission from Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2002:175–182.