Long-Term Care

Trainer’s tips: Determining calories needed to maintain weight

LTC Nursing Assistant Trainer, February 23, 2012

During a dietary assessment, the dietitian calculates the resident’s basal energy expenditure (BEE)—a measurement that determines how many calories (cal) the resident must consume each day to maintain his or her weight. The information is useful in preventing and managing weight loss, and promoting healing.

The following formulas are helpful on the occasions when the dietician is unavailable and the nurse must calculate the resident’s BEE. Ask the dietitian to recheck the data on his or her next regular visit.

Convert the resident’s height to inches (in), then to centimeters (cm):

  • 1 inch = 2.54 centimeters
  • Multiply the height in inches by 2.54
  • Example: A resident is 5 feet 5 inches tall, or 65 inches
  • Multiply 65 x 2.54 = 165.1 cm

Convert the resident’s weight in pounds (lbs) to kilograms (kg):

  • 1 kg = 2.2 pounds
  • Divide the weight in lbs by 2.2
  • Example: A resident weighs 135 lbs
  • Divide 135 / 2.2 = 61.36 kg
  • Round this figure to an even number (61 kg)

To calculate BEE for a male resident:

  • 66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) - (6.8 x age)

To calculate BEE for a female resident:

  • 655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) - (4.7 x age)

The formula to estimate BEE in males is:

  • 1 cal/kg/hour

The formula to estimate BEE in females is:

  • 0.9 cal/kg/hour

This is an excerpt from the HCPro book, The Long-Term Care Nursing Desk Reference, Second Edition, by Barbara Acello, MS, RN.

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