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How Many Calories Does a Woman Need?

By Nina K.

Calories provide the energy to fuel work tasks, exercise and even breathing. By eating as many calories as you burn each day, you'll maintain a steady weight -- but figuring out your exact needs can be tricky, as a number of factors come into play. Heavier women burn more calories, as do those with a high percentage of muscle, which is more active than fat. Hormones, pregnancy and breastfeeding also affect your calorie-burning rate. Still, a look at the averages can help you determine your daily needs.

Average Calorie Needs

On average, a moderately active woman -- one who walks 1.5 to 3 miles per day or who gets the equivalent amount of exercise -- burns 2,200 calories per day from age 19 to 25. Between age 26 and 50, she burns about 2,000 calories per day. After 50, calorie burning slows to about 1,800 daily calories. With a sedentary lifestyle, she expends about 200 fewer calories each day; with a more active lifestyle, she may burn 200 to 400 more calories. These numbers reflect a woman who is 5 feet 4 inches of 126 pounds.

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