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TABLE 4-1 Mean and Rounded MyPyramid Calorie Levels by Age-Grade Group

Age-Grade Group

Mean Calorie Level for Males and Femalesa

Rounded Calorie Level for Males and Females

Ages 5–10 y, Kindergarten–Grade 5



Ages 11–13 y, Grade 6–8



Ages 14–18 y, Grade 9–12



NOTE: y = years.

aThese requirements were obtained from the mean Estimated Energy Requirement calculations for the age-grade-gender group.

Pyramid calorie levels for meal patterns. The original and rounded mean values appear in Table 4-1.

To determine target calorie levels for school breakfast and lunch, the committee reviewed data from the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment study (SNDA-III). These data (shown in Appendix G, Table G-1) indicated that, compared with a single value, a range would more accurately represent the proportion of calories obtained by school-aged children from meals and snacks. The children who participated in the School Breakfast Program obtained 19 to 24 percent of their total calorie intake from breakfast. The children who participated in the National School Lunch Program obtained approximately 30 to 34 percent of their total calorie intake (over 24 hours) from lunch. Findings were comparable for school-aged children overall and for low-income children (those approved for free or reduced-price meal benefits) (data not shown). The committee also reviewed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999–2004 and found that the distribution of calories among breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks was consistent with that found using SNDA-III data.

The committee agreed to set a maximum target for calories to help limit excessive calorie intake at breakfast and lunch. Having both a minimum and a maximum value helps ensure adequate calories while giving school food operators some flexibility when planning menus. The means of the values used for the minimum and maximum calories (21.5 percent for breakfast and 32 percent for lunch) were used in setting selected Nutrient Targets, as described later in this chapter.

The committee applied the information about the proportion of calories that children typically obtain from breakfast and lunch meals to the rounded calorie levels established for the three age-grade groups. For example, for children ages 5–10 years, the lower end of the calorie range was calculated as follows:

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