Daily Calorie Intake In Women
Calories are units of energy needed to fuel daily activity. The amount of fuel or calorie intake in women daily depends on many factors, including size, age and activity level.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that the average American woman over age 20 takes in over 1,700 calories per day. Though this is lower than the recommended daily caloric intake of 1,940 (UK Department of Health Estimated Average Requirements (EAR)). However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2009 to 2010 nearly 41 million women in America were obese. A number of factors such as age, height and weight, basic level of daily activity, body composition, income level and the type of food a woman eats vary greatly and determine whether or not her diet is healthy.
Since weight gain and loss have been long term issues this 21st century, women have become increasingly concerned with their looks in terms of weight. Daily calorie intake is one of the largest predictors of overweight and obesity. What is important to know in terms of health is that the amount of calories women require each day varies mainly based on their age and activity level. How many calories are needed each day can vary greatly depending on lifestyle and other factors hence calorie recommendations decrease with age. Simply, the older you get the less your caloric needs.
Average Caloric Intake
According to the "What We Eat in America" report for 2009 to 2010, average daily calorie intake in women changes at different stages of life. A daily intake of 1,949 for a woman in her twenties will likely be the highest caloric intake level of her lifetime as this will decrease to 1,831 when in her thirties. This goes down to 1,749 in her forties, 1,759 in her fifties and 1,717 calories per day in her sixties. For women of age 70 and above, the caloric intake is at about 1,535 per day.
Adequate daily calorie intake in women helps to maintain current weight. However, other factors come into play to attain a healthy weight and lifestyle such as her age and level of activity. Up to age 25, a moderately active woman needs about 2,200 calories per day, decreasing to 2,000 as she gets into age 50. From the age of 51, she can take in 1,800 calories per day. In the case of the sedentary woman, 2,000 calories per day is needed by those between the ages of 19 and 25. From age 26 to 50, a daily caloric rate of 1,800 is needed while those over 51 years need about 1,600 calories per day. In the case of very active women ranged between 10 to 30 years, a daily caloric intake of 3,000 is needed; ages 31 to 60 need 2,200 while active women 61 years and above need about 2,000 calories per day.
Are nutrients required in large amounts that provide the energy (calories) needed to maintain body functions and carry out the activities of daily life? There are 3 macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. What a woman eats may help determine whether or not she is overweight depending on the recommended number of calories for her level of activity. It is recommended by the Institute of Medicine that a woman’s total caloric intake consist of 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates, 10 to 35 percent protein and 25 to 35 percent fat. Yet, a recent report by "What We Eat in America" reveals that the average woman’s food consists of 51% carbohydrates, 16% protein, and 33% fat. This means that she will gain more body fat and less muscle mass; which should be the reverse as she should rather increase muscle mass as she grows older. The growing woman should take in more fiber which, though not digested by the body, helps the intestine in expelling waste and can help lower cholesterol.
Obesity, Income Levels and Sugar Drinks
Obesity typically results from over-eating (especially an unhealthy diet) and lack of enough exercise. The biggest prediction of obesity is income [America’s Eating Disorder, Alternet.org]. Obesity affects the poor because the food they can afford is often cheap, industrialized, mass produced, and inexpensive, thus they eat poorly. It also affects the rich because, with money in hand, they can afford to eat anything (and in excess) without paying attention to its nutritional or health value. A research team from the University of Virginia, in their recent study, has shed light on how sugary drinks could be causing obesity in preschool kids. It just adds to the evidence that (drinking) sugar-sweetened beverages in childhood is associated with weight gain and is definitely one of the major, if not the main, driver in childhood obesity.
According to the CDC, "29.0% of women who live in households with income at or above 350% of the poverty level are obese and 42.0% of those with income below 130% of the poverty level are obese." The most significant difference is with non-Hispanic white women. While wealthier white women have a 27.5% obesity level, 39.2% of less wealthy women are obese. Sweetened beverages may be a factor as sugar drinks make up nearly 9 percent of a lower-income adult's total caloric intake, but only 4.4% of a higher-income adult's total caloric intake.