How Many Calories Per Day for the Elderly?

Elderly woman making lunch outdoors
A healthy senior preparing lunch. (Image: Ingram Publishing/Ingram Publishing/Getty Images)

Older adults often do not get the calories or nutrition they need due to decreased appetite and decreased mobility. Rapid weight loss is common after age 70 and can result in health problems.

Calories

According to the National Policy and Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging from Florida University, males aged 50 to 70 need approximately 2,200 calories per day, while females aged 50 to 70 require 1,980 calories per day. After age 70, caloric needs decrease due to decreased metabolism, movement and energy requirements. Males need about 2,050 calories per day and females need about 1,870 calories per day.

Macronutrients

It is important to get adequate caloric intake from protein, carbohydrates and fat to maintain necessary bodily functions. About 10 to 35 percent of daily calories should come from protein to maintain muscle and bone formation. About 45 to 65 percent of your calories should come from carbohydrates to maintain energy levels. About 20 percent but no more than 35 percent of calories should come from fat, which helps maintain cellular function and body mass.

Other Nutrition

In 2007, Tufts University modified the food pyramid to accommodate older adults. It now has a fiber component. Make sure the calories you get from carbohydrates are rich in fiber, which helps regulate digestion and bowel movements. After age 60, the thirst mechanism may decrease, so you might not drink enough water, resulting in dehydration. With every meal, make sure to drink water.

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