The Healthy Body Calculator® says “for adults” and when I put in a 9-year-old, it replied this program is only for people over 18. I am currently studying at Deakin University in Australia and I am doing an assignment on a nutritional analysis for a 9-year-old. I would like to know the percentage of fats, carbohydrate and protein that should be in her diet. Currently her diet consists of 24% fat, 7% protein and 69% carbohydrate. I noticed you suggested 10% protein for adults. Is this the same as for a 9-year-old female? If so, she should increase her protein intake. I find this confusing because her protein intake in a 24-hour period was 65 grams. This is higher than the dietary required amounts. I am unsure whether to recommend an increase in her protein intake if she is already above the required amount for her age. She weighs 25 kilograms and is very active. Her total energy intake for the 24-hour period was 9500 kJ (kilojoules) and her required amount I calculated turned out to be 8500 kJ. This took into account her BMR (basal metabolic rate) and activity level. Where are the other 1000 kJ going? She hasn’t an ounce of fat on her. I am confused and would appreciate some answers! Thank you.


    In order to comment on her energy requirements, I would need to know how tall she is. The Healthy Kid Calculator includes age appropriate percentages of fat, carbohydrate and protein. Her carbohydrate appears high and her protein low as well as a slightly low-fat amount. Her calculated protein grams may be higher than her Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) because % protein is based on calorie recommendations not RDA. If 65 grams of protein as 15% of total calories = 260 calories, then her basal calorie recommendation should be at least 1,733 Kcal or 7,251 kilojoules. (One calorie = 4.184 kilojoules.) Since her energy estimation you calculated at 8,500 kilojoules is 1,000 kilojoules less than her actual intake, you may have underestimated her activity kilojoules.

    Consider this. The only variables are food intake, energy expenditure and physiological stress (fever, burns, surgery, broken bones, etc.) in addition to growth. So, if she is healthy and without physiological stress, either she overestimated her food intake which is less likely than you underestimated her energy expenditure. Another factor in children of course is growth energy which is difficult to estimate and you could attribute the 1,000 kilojoules to growth if you are sure her food intake and activity expenditure are accurately estimated. Have you read the current (2004) RDA book on calories needed for growth in children?