Energy requirements of infants

Public Health Nutr. 2005 Oct;8(7A):953-67. doi: 10.1079/phn2005790.


Objective: To estimate the energy requirements of infants from total energy expenditure and energy deposition during growth.

Design: Energy requirements during infancy were estimated from total energy expenditure measured by the doubly labelled water method and energy deposition based on measured protein and fat gains.

Setting: Database on the total energy expenditure and energy deposition of infants was compiled from available studies conducted in China, Chile, Gambia, Mexico, The Netherlands, UK, and USA.

Subjects: Healthy, term infants.

Results: Total energy requirements (kJ day(-1)) increased with age and were higher in boys than girls due to differences in weight. Energy requirements decreased from 473 kJ kg(-1) per day for boys and 447 kJ kg(-1) per day for girls at 1 month of age to 337 kJ kg(-1) per day for boys and 341 kJ kg(-1) per day for girls at 6 months of age, and thereafter tended to plateau. Energy deposition as a percentage of total energy requirements decreased from 40% at 1 month to 3% at 12 months of age. These estimates are 10-32% lower than the 1985 FAO/WHO/UNU recommendations which were based on observed energy intakes of infants.

Conclusions: Recommendations for the energy intake of infants should be revised based on new estimates of total energy expenditure and energy deposition.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Body Water / metabolism
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Indicator Dilution Techniques
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn / growth & development*
  • Male
  • Nutritional Requirements*
  • Sex Factors