Ideally, the energy we consume as food is balanced with the energy we need to live. Our daily calorie requirement depends on age, gender, activity level, and body composition (lean versus fat tissue). One way to measure body fat is using height and weight to calculate one’s body mass index or BMI. But experts now say that a tape measure may provide the best clue to overall health and optimal calorie intake.
The key? Your waist (not belt) size. In general, every inch over 40 (for men) and 35 (for women) poses health risks linked to the extra abdominal fat.
To measure your waist, place a tape measure around your bare abdomen just above the hip bone. Measure the circumference while breathing out, with the abdomen relaxed.
For an estimate of your daily calorie needs, visit cancer.org/docroot/PED/content/PED_6_1x_Calorie_Calculator.asp