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Calorie Needs and Young Athletes

Does your young athlete get tire easily during practice? or does he/she get sluggish by the second half of the game? He might not be eating enough calories to maintain his level of activity.

Because young athletes need different amounts of calories depending on their gender, body size, age and activity level determining how many calories they need varied from athlete to athlete.

Young athletes involved in strenuous, high calorie burner sports such as soccer, basketball, swimming or other sports may need more than those that are involved in low calorie burner sports such as baseball, football, gymnastics.

A moderately active child within the age range of 9 to 13 often need 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 suggest that a moderately active 9 to 13 year old female require 1,600 to 2,000  calories per day.  While boys within the same age range usually need 1,800 to 2,200 calories per day to maintain healthy body weight.

If your young athlete falls under the ‘active’ lifestyle she will require even more calories than a ‘moderately’ active young athlete.  Most young athletes would fall under either Moderately Active or Active lifestyle.

How Many Carbohydrates Do Young Athlete's Need?

The estimated calorie needs tables by age according to the Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 are below.  These are only estimates,  ask your pediatrician to ensure your young athlete is eating enough calories for their activity level.  Ask your pediatrician how to get the appropriate amount of vitamins and mineral to help his/her growing bones.

Start by offering plenty of nutritious food, monitoring their energy level, weight and growth.

Moderately Active
Moderately Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking about 1.5 to 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the activities of independent living.
Active
Active means a lifestyle that includes physical activity equivalent to walking more than 3 miles per day at 3 to 4 miles per hour, in addition to the activities of independent living.
Source
Source: Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington (DC): The National Academies Press; 2002.

Want to know how many calories are in the food your young athlete eats?

 Become a smarter shopper by reading nutrition food labels on food products and show your young athlete how.  Click here to learn more.

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How do you count calories? Do you use apps such myfitnesspal?

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