The right balance is different for everyone, but the important thing to remember is that if you take in more calories than you need, you will gain weight.
Energy is another word for "calories." Your energy balance is the number of calories IN, consumed through eating and drinking, compared to calories OUT, burned through physical activity.
Here are just a few examples of estimated daily caloric requirements:
|| 19 to 30 years old
|| 2,000 to 2,400 calories |
|| 31 to 50 years old
|| 2,200 to 3,000 calories|
|| 9 to 11 years old
|| 1600 to 2,000 calories|
The calorie ranges take into account physical activity levels from sedentary to moderately active to active. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. See What is energy balance? from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
Learn more about calories in different kinds of foods in the heart-smart Nutrition topic and read the Exercise topic for tips on increasing your activity level.
To help kids learn about calories in and calories out, visit Project Heart and download a sample activity worksheet.
Read "Weight loss products and heart disease–there is no silver bullet," from the women's heart health e-newsletter (not just for women!).
Are foods with a high glycemic index bad for your heart? — response by Kathryn Chiles, Registered Dietician.
Putting the puzzle together piece by piece . . .
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February is American Heart Month