How many kJ do kids need each day?

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and being physically active are particularly important for kids. Bodies are still growing and behaviours formed now can last a lifetime.

So they need fuel. But like adults, there is no magic, single kJ number for all kids. Every child is different.

Our Ideal Figure calculator uses special equations to suggest an ideal figure to maintain weight in children younger than 10 years and for teens. The kids' version is right below. There is no option to make weight loss a goal in this one. If you're concerned about their weight, consult a qualified health professional.

Your ideal figure

What should your recommended daily kJ intake be?


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(Only available for ages 10+)
How physically active is your school day or main part of the waking day:

  • Not active - e.g. mostly seated, including during breaks; easy walking between classes; 1 physical education class per week
  • Moderately active - e.g. active during breaks, playing sports and active games
  • Very active - e.g. often active, frequent running

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(Only available for ages 10+)
How physically active are you outside of school or the rest of the waking day:

  • Not active - no strenuous leisure activity eg mostly homework, small screen activities, leisurely walking
  • Moderately active - occasional active leisure activity or sport, regular bicycling to school
  • Very active - frequent, strenuous leisure activity or training on most days eg. jogging, several competitive sports or strenuous cycling on most days

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Calculator results are based on population averages and are approximations. Individual needs are likely to vary. A range of ideal kJ figures is provided as a guide, where possible.

If you want a tailored, personal weight management plan, you should consult your doctor or accredited practising dietitian.

This calculator is provided for instruction and is not intended for medical diagnosis or treatment.

It may be less suitable for people involved heavily in sporting activities such as elite athletes, with some health conditions or for ethnicities whose weight-to-age ratio differs from the population average.

Calculations are based on the approach by McNeill, in Garrow, James & Ralph (eds), 2000, Human nutrition and dietetics.

Everyone's body works differently, and this is just a starting point. It might take some trial and error.

The good news is: small changes can make a big difference.

Doctors and other health care professionals are the best people to determine whether a child or adolescent's current weight is healthy. They have growth charts of weight-for-age and weight-for-height and they can consider growth patterns.