EFSA sets average requirements for energy intake

EFSA sets average requirements for energy intake

ARs of specified age and sex groups were calculated to take account of different levels of physical activity and are based on an assumed healthy body mass index of 22kg/m2.

EFSA has set average requirements (ARs) for energy intake for adults, infants and children, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The ARs provide a best estimate of the energy needs of population groups within Europe and will help policymakers to develop and monitor nutrition programmes to promote public health including the establishment of food-based dietary guidelines.

EFSA’s scientific advice on energy requirements is laid down in the latest of a series of scientific opinions on dietary reference values (DRVs) produced by the Authority’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA Panel), on request from the European Commission.

The average energy requirements of the specified age and sex groups were calculated to take account of different levels of physical activity, and are based on an assumed healthy body mass index of 22kg/m2. For example, the Panel has set the following ARs, based on a moderately active lifestyle:

 

 

Age

ARs (kcal/day)

Girls/boys

6

1,500-1,600

12

2,000-2,200

17

2,300-2,900

Women/men

30-39

2,000-2,600

50-59

2,000-2,500

70-79

1,800-2,300

 

For pregnant women, an increase in body mass of 12kg was considered to be associated with optimal maternal and fetal health outcomes. The additional amounts of energy required to support pregnancy were estimated at 70 kcal/day, 260 kcal/day and 500 kcal/day during the first, second and third trimesters, respectively. The additional average energy requirement for women who exclusively breastfeed during the first six months after birth was estimated at 500 kcal/day.

The ARs take account of physical activity levels (PALs) that correspond to different lifestyles (sedentary, moderately active, very active, and highly active). These PALs are defined by factors such as: type of work (for example, office-based or physical labour), the amount of daily exercise taken, and daily household tasks undertaken, including shopping and cooking[4]. The ARs should be adjusted according to different contexts, such as for people or population groups with BMIs above or below 22kg/m2.

 

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