Estimating Energy Needs

Energy needs are based on daily energy output or expenditures. The three major contributors to energy expenditure are:

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): This is the energy needed to maintain life. Calculate your BMR using Worksheet 1-1.

Digestion: A small amount of energy is needed to digest food. This is accounted for in the BMR equation in Worksheet 1-1.

Physical Activity: Energy is needed during physical activity. Estimate your activity factor from Table 1-1.

Worksheet 1-1. Calculate Your BMR

Equation for:

Age (years):




6.95 x body weight (lbs.) + 679


5.27 x body weight (lbs.) + 879



6.68 x body weight (lbs.) + 496


3.95 x body weight (lbs.) + 829

Your BMR is


Table 1-1. Estimate Your Activity Factor

Level of Activity

Activity Factor

Very Light

Seated and standing activities, driving, playing cards, computer work.



Walking, sailing, bowling, light stretching, golf, woodworking, playing pool.



Jogging, aerobic dance, light swimming, biking, calisthenics, carrying a load.



Stairmaster, ski machine, racquet sports, running, soccer, basketball, obstacle course, digging, carrying a load uphill, rowing.



Running or swimming races, cycling uphill, hard


rowing, carrying heavy loads.

Your Activity Factor is .

Total Daily Estimated Energy Requirement

Your total daily estimated energy requirement (EER) is the amount of kcals you need to eat each day to offset the energy expended through your BMR and physical activity and maintain an energy balance of zero. Calculate your EER in Worksheet 1-2.

Worksheet 1-2. Calculate Your Estimated Energy

Energy Needs =_X_

*BMR 'Activity Factor Your Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) =_kcal/day.

*Your BMR is calculated in Worksheet 1-1. The Activity Factor is from Table 1-1. The estimated energy needs of typical 19-50 year old men and women who are light to moderately physically active are 2,900 and 2,200 kcals/day, respectively.

By meeting your EER, you should have an energy balance of "zero" and maintain your current body weight. If your goal is to either lose or gain weight, adjust your kcal intake only slightly and engage in a well-rounded exercise program. A healthy goal when losing or gaining weight is to lose or gain 1/2 - 1 lbs. per week.

For specific questions about weight management and kcal requirements, consult the Navy Nutrition and Weight Control

Self-Study Guide (NAVPERS 15602A at and under "Navy Nutrition and Weight Control), or talk to a Registered Dietitian, your Command Fitness Coordinator, or your doctor. Also, see Chapter 3 to learn about eating healthfully.

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