How Many Calories Does Your Child Need?
People's calorie needs vary depending on
Hi, I'm Dr. Roy Benaroch of Pediatric Physicians PC and we're here at About.com to talk about how many calories do children really need.Calories are a unit of food energy. Children should consume, digest, and absorb enough calories each day to take care of their energy needs, plus provide enough extra calories for growth. Excessive calories will lead to excessive weight gain, with important health consequences. So while children need to eat what they need, that doesn't mean that eating more is always a good thing.People's calorie needs vary, depending on how active they are—exercise and active play burn more calories than watching TV—and also their age, sex, baseline metabolic rate, and other factors. So there's no one formula or number that will accurately predict how many calories are need at each age. As a general rule of thumb, approximate calorie needs are for each day:toddlers: 1,000-1,600school age: 1,200-1,800teenagers: 1,800-3,000As you can see, these ranges are quite broad. The best way to know if a child is eating a healthy amount of calories is to follow their growth charts along with a physician. If growth -- that is, both height and weight increases -- are as expected, than you know calorie intake is adequate. If there is too much weight (and, often, height) being gained, than too many calories are being consumed.Thanks for watching. For more information, visit About.com.