childhood growth and weight gain -- tools
and tips for parents
Percentile Growth Charts for
Boys and Girls
Kids’ Energy Recommendations Revised
New energy recommendations recently released
by the Food
and Nutrition Board of the Institutes of Medicine
could help in the fight against childhood obesity.
new recommendations will affect programs ranging
from food labeling laws to school breakfast and
lunch programs, to nutrition therapies designed
to help overweight children,” said CNRC
energy expert Dr.
Nancy Butte. Butte, a Professor of Pediatrics
at Baylor College of Medicine, helped develop
the new recommendations.
According to Butte, improved research methods
enabled scientists to tie the energy recommendations
to children’s activity levels for the first
time. Hundreds of measurements of total energy
expenditure (TEE), including
many collected at the CNRC, provided key information
about how many calories children actually burn
while going about their daily lives.
Although the new guidelines allow for four levels
of physical activity -- sedentary, moderate, active
or vigorous -- Butte said they also recommend
that children accumulate at least 60 minutes of
physical activity every day to promote health.
This amount puts children in the “active”
zone of the energy recommendations.
“Linking children’s energy needs
to their activity level is essential because,
contrary to popular belief, a child’s energy
needs for growth are small compared to that for
physical activity,” she said.
Research shows that through age 9, children need
a mere 20 extra calories per day to support growth.
Children 9 to 18 need an additional 25 calories
per day. In contrast, a 9-year-old who is physically
active for an hour a day burns a total of about
2000 calories per day, or about 250 calories more
than his “couch-potato” peers.
This difference suggests that an inactive 9-year-old
who habitually consumes the same number of calories
as an active peer could gain nearly 26 pounds
in one year -- far more than the six to eight
pound gain generally considered healthy for that
"Understanding a child’s energy needs
could help parents and kids better balance their
food choices with their physical activity level,"