Publications : 2021

Stan SV, Grathwohl D, O’Neill LM, Saavedra JM, Butte NF, Cohen SS. 2021. Estimated energy requirements of infants and young children up to 24 months of age. Curr Dev Nutr 5(11):1–9.



Establishing energy requirements in infants and young children is important in developing age-appropriate diet recommendations but most published guidelines for energy requirements have one or more limitations related to the data underlying the calculations.


To develop a comprehensive set of daily energy requirements for infants and young children age 0 to 24 months meeting the ideals of worldwide applicability to all healthy children based on the use of the doubly labeled water (DLW) technique to measure total energy expenditure (TEE); the use of recent, international growth charts; and calculation of values across a wide range of body weight.


Daily estimated energy requirements (EER) were calculated in one-month increments from 0 to 24 months for boys, girls, and combined, using as inputs the following: 1) TEE measured using the DLW technique; 2) energy deposition estimates from the Institute of Medicine; and 3) body weight values from the 25th to 75th percentiles from the 2006 WHO growth charts. EERs were combined for age groups 0-<6, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-24 months by averaging EERs from individual months. The EER calculations were supported by a systematic literature review and a meta-regression of existing studies.


Energy requirements naturally increase with age and are slightly higher in boys than in girls. The EERs derived in this study are similar to those in other recent international efforts.


This updated set of EER for infants and young children expand and improve upon the methodology used to establish previous published guidelines. These estimates have multiple potential uses including planning age-appropriate menus for the complementary feeding period, the development of foods that are more precisely targeted to the needs of infants and children at particular ages and establishing macronutrient requirements within specific age groups based on a percentage of energy, such as dietary fat.