How Many Calories a Day Does the Average Body Burn?

The body uses calories as a source of energy for daily activities. Counting calories is a popular tool for weight management and establishing a healthy diet. The calories burned by an average person are based on their basal metabolic rate and their activity level.

Compare your own caloric needs with the average person. Credit: Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock/Getty Images

Basal Metabolic Rate

A person's basal metabolic rate is related to the way your body utilizes energy. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) is an estimate of the number of calories you body uses in a day, at rest. BMR calculations use a person's age, height, weight and gender to find the number of calories burned in a day. For women, the average BMR in the United States is 1,493 calories. For men, the average BMR in the United States is 1,662 calories. You can determine your own BMR using the BMI calculator (see Resources).

Harris Benedict Equation

The average person does not sit at rest all day. The Harris Benedict equation uses activity multipliers to find an adjusted basal metabolic rate that factors in exercise. Using the average BMR determined from statistics from the CDC and the CIA World Factbook, one can calculate average total calories burned, adjusted by the Harris Benedict equation to correlate with different activity levels: men who engage in light activity 1 to 3 days per week, burn 2,228.3 per day and women burn 2,052.9 calories.


The number of calories burned by the average body should be used as a baseline measurement only. For those looking to manage their weight or control their diets, more specific caloric measurements are required that calculate individual calories burned, rather than using average statistics.

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