How many calories should a person consume daily? The answer is different for everyone

There was a time when I thought I was the only person in the world who was aware of the amount of calories required per day it takes to lose weight and completely clueless as to how many calories a person who is not on a diet should consume daily.  I used to always wonder how many calories does a person need to consume when they don’t want to gain or lose weight?

It’s a question that many people find difficult to answer, which makes me realize that I was not alone when I could never quite answer it myself.   In my mind, the same answer had to apply to everyone.   Think about it, a human being is a human being … shouldn’t we each be required to consume the same amount of calories in order to maintain our body weight?

What I’ve found that the answer is not the same for everyone.  The amount of calories that each of us need to maintain our weight is totally based on our age, gender, height, weight and physical activity level.

Obviously you know your age, your gender, your height and weight, but many individuals get confused when it comes to the activity level…  how do you figure THAT out?  Most charts divide up the activity level into three categories:  Sedentary, Moderately Active and Active.  I’ll be first to admit that during those years when I was raising my three young children, a stay-at-home mom who never sat down until it was time to sleep for the night, I would have thought my activity level was active, extremely active.   But now that I have read what an “Active Level” is I have come to realize that my lifestyle was extremely busy but not so active.

  • Sedentary: a lifestyle that includes only the light physical activity associated with typical day-to-day life.
  • Moderately Active: a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking about 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: a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 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.

The following chart can help you see for yourself the amount of calories that a person requires in order to maintain a healthy weight:

Gender

Age (years)

Sedentaryb

Moderately Activec

Actived

Child2-31,0001,000-1,4001,000-1,400
Female4-8
9-13
14-18
19-30
31-50
51+
1,200
1,600
1,800
2,000
1,800
1,600
1,400-1,600
1,600-2,000
2,000
2,000-2,200
2,000
1,800
1,400-1,800
1,800-2,200
2,400
2,400
2,200
2,000-2,200
Male4-8
9-13
14-18
19-30
31-50
51+
1,400
1,800
2,200
2,400
2,200
2,000
1,400-1,600
1,800-2,200
2,400-2,800
2,600-2,800
2,400-2,600
2,200-2,400
1,600-2,000
2,000-2,600
2,800-3,200
3,000
2,800-3,000
2,400-2,800

 

I wanted to share with you a book that I have found very interesting pertaining to calories, it’s titled:  “Why Calories Count” by Marion Nestle.    I think you’ll enjoy it since it contains pictures of the history of nutrition along with the way our obsession with calories began. The book explains that there was actually a time in history when people didn’t comprehend that food provided the caloric energy we each require to live.  This book helped me find a complete understanding of calories, weight management and why obesity occurs.

Have you read this book?  What did you take away from it?

Photo credit:  a_sorense

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