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Comprehending Calories Based on Age and Body Type

We’ve all been there: Suddenly your favorite jeans don’t button so easily. Stepping on the scale at the doctor’s office, you realize you’ve gained five pounds. Or you feel winded walking up a couple of flights of stairs.

The first step is acknowledging the need for a healthier lifestyle. The benefits of maintaining a healthy weight reach far beyond outward appearances. Studies show people who maintain a healthy weight live longer, reduce their risk of some chronic diseases like diabetes and sleep apnea, and prevent joint deterioration.


Fueling Life with Calories

Calorie calculators make it easy to figure out how many calories you need in order to lose, maintain or gain weight. These tools account for age, height, weight, sex and activity level. The younger and more active you are, the more calories you need to be healthy. Male, female, young or old, we metabolize calories differently. So, what’s good for one person may not be good for the next person.

For people wishing to maintain their weight, a simple calorie calculator like the one from the Mayo Clinic is all you need. Anyone wishing to lose weight will find the calculator offered by helpful. It not only gives you your daily caloric goal, it can also track your meals and exercise.


Calories In, Calories Out

According to the United States Attorney General, two-thirds of adults and almost one in three children are overweight or obese. While obesity among adult Americans more than doubled, and obesity among American children and adolescents more than tripled between 1980 and 2008, technology has made managing our weight easier than ever.

Understanding how exercise affects caloric needs is important for reducing obesity. According to, a 130 pound runner will burn 2,581 calories during a marathon. That is equivalent to the calories in two loaded chicken burritos from Chipotle. While the same person swimming laps for an hour will only burn around 400 calories, the same as eating four bananas.


Understanding Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI) uses a person’s height and weight to calculate a number which indicates whether they are underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese. Many websites offer BMI calculators. This number can also be determined by dividing the person’s weight in pounds by their height in inches squared and multiplying by 703.

The BMI calculator for children and teens age two to 19 years old accounts for date of birth, date of measurement, height, weight and sex. This calculator is often used by schools to determine the rate of childhood obesity. As a child grows, their BMI is plotted on a chart based on their age and sex. If a child is overweight or obese, it’s best to consult a doctor to figure out the best course of action.


Tailoring a Diet to Fit Your Needs

As easy as it is to fall for flashy fad diets promising a cleaner colon or a trimmer waist, making smart food choices and monitoring calorie intake is the healthiest way to maintain or lose weight. Many people can do this by making minor changes in their current diet.

  • Swapping sugar-loaded beverages for water can help you lose up to 2.5 percent of your body weight in six months, according to a 2011 study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, and lowers the risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Choosing skim milk over whole milk for your breakfast cereal greatly reduces saturated fat in your diet, which is linked to heart disease, and it cuts 56 grams of fat per week.
  • Ordering a side salad or sliced apples instead of fries with your hamburger will help reduce your risk for coronary heart disease and save more than 400 calories.

In addition to making better food choices, getting your friends and family on the same page can provide critical support to help you stay on track. One study published by the American Psychological Association showed two-thirds of the participants who enrolled in a weight-loss program with friends were able to keep the weight off six months after their meetings ended.


A Healthy Weight at Any Age

As we age, our calorie and nutritional needs change. What a 70-year-old deems an active lifestyle might look very different than that of a 20-year-old, so it is important to adjust calorie intake accordingly. Simple changes to diet and exercise will ensure adequate nutrition and prevent weight gain.

  • Choosing omega-3 rich salmon instead of steak boosts brain function, lowers risk of arthritis, and cuts four grams of saturated fat.
  • Adding in more whole grains increases dietary fiber, which aids digestion and helps you feel fuller longer.
  • Finding new ways to stay active as you age will help maintain overall health and fitness and reduce risk of anxiety and depression.


Education for a Healthy Lifestyle

Despite stigma attached to counting calories, many studies have proven that this is the key to weight loss. Counting calories and monitoring your BMI brings awareness to what you are putting into your body and how the food you eat can fuel your life.

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