Facts for your figure…
Calories are a measure of the amount of energy in food. Knowing how many calories are in our food
can help us to balance the energy we put in with the energy we take out. And that’s the key to
reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. The recommended daily calorie intake varies from
person to person, but the new UK Department of Health Estimated Average Requirements (EAR) are
based on a daily calorie intake of 2079 calories per day for women and 2605 calories per day for
How many calories are needed each day can vary greatly depending on lifestyle and other
factors. Factors that affect your personal daily calorie needs include your age, height and weight,
your basic level of daily activity, and your body composition. To lose weight, you need to eat less
calories per day than your body needs, or use up more calories via exercise. To lose 1lb a week you
need a negative calorie balance of 500 calories per day. To lose weight at 2lb a week you need a
negative balance of 1000 calories a day. Etcetera.
A general problem (not pointing a finger at you!) in the West is that people tend to underestimate
how much they eat, and overestimate the amount of exercise they do. You can see the potential
There are plenty of tools available to help you assess your current levels of fitness, (or otherwise!)
The NHS have a useful series of health tools online, both around fitness and weight loss.
Another measure worth being aware of is your BMI (Body Mass Index). BMI is a useful measure of
overweight and obesity. It is calculated from your height and weight. BMI is an estimate of body fat
and a good gauge of your risk for diseases that can occur with more body fat. The higher your BMI,
the higher your risk for certain complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2
diabetes, gallstones, breathing problems and certain cancers.
Although BMI can be used for most men and women, it does have some limits. It may overestimate
body fat in athletes and others who have a muscular build, and may underestimate body fat in older
persons and others who have lost muscle
You can check out your own BMI via this handy app on our Web Page.
And on the subject of facts and figures- did you know that the length from your wrist to your elbow
is the same as the length of your foot? And that it is impossible to lick your elbow.