HealthSheets™


Eating the Right Number of Calories (2020-2025 Guidelines)

Calories are a measure of the energy you get from food and beverages. If you eat more calories than you use, you will gain weight. If you eat fewer calories than you use, you should lose weight. Below are tables that give the estimated number of calories needed each day. Look for your gender, age, and activity level. If you stick to this number, you should stay at your weight. Note that this is an estimated number of calories.* Your exact number may be different.

Women

Age in years

Sedentary (calories/day)

Moderately active (calories/day)

Active (calories/day)

19 to 30

1,800–2,000

2,000–2,200

2,400

31 to 50

1,800

2,000

2,200

51 and older

1,600

1,800

2,000–2,200

Men

Age in years

Sedentary (calories/day)

Moderately active (calories/day)

Active (calories/day)

19 to 30

2,400–2,600

2,600–2,800

3,000

31 to 50

2,200–2,400

2,400–2,600

2,800–3,000

51 and older

2,000–2,200

2,200–2,400

2,400–2,800

Activity levels defined

  • Sedentary. Only light physical activity such as that done during typical daily life.

  • Moderately active. Light physical activity done during typical daily life and physical activity equal to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour.

  • Active. Light physical activity done during typical daily life and physical activity equal to walking more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour.

* From Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The estimated levels for women don't include pregnant or lactating people.

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