Monday, January 14, 2013
Article # 207. How Many Calories Do Kids Need?
Kids come in all sizes and each person's body burns energy (calories) at different rates, so there isn't one perfect number of calories that a kid should eat. But there is a recommended range for most school-age kids: 1,600 to 2,500 per day.
When they reach puberty, girls need more calories than before but they tend to need fewer calories than boys. As boys enter puberty, they will need as many as 2,500 to 3,000 calories per day. But whether they are girls or boys, kids who are active and move around a lot will need more calories than kids who don't.
Most kids don't have to worry about not getting enough calories because the body — and feelings of hunger — help regulate how many calories a person eats. But kids with certain medical problems may need to make sure they eat enough calories. Kids with cystic fibrosis, for instance, have to eat high-calorie foods because their bodies have trouble absorbing the nutrients and energy from food.
Kids who are overweight might have to make sure they don't eat too many calories. (Only your doctor can say if you are overweight, so check with him or her if you're concerned. And never go on a without talking to your doctor!)
If you eat more calories than your body needs, the leftover calories are converted to fat. Too much fat can lead to health problems. Often, kids who are overweight can start by avoiding high-calorie foods, such as sugary sodas, candy, and fast food, and by eating a healthy, balanced diet. are really important too, because activity burns calories.