Zinc is an essential nutrient that is required in humans and animals for many physiological functions, including immune and antioxidant function, growth and reproduction. Many aspects of zinc deficiency-induced anorexia have been well studied in experimental animals, most notably the laboratory rat. There is evidence that suggests zinc deficiency may be intimately involved with anorexia in humans: if not as an initiating cause, then as an accelerating or exacerbating factor that may deepen the pathology of the anorexia. The present review describes recent research investigating the relationship between zinc deficiency and the regulation of food intake, along with advances in the understanding of the food intake and body weight regulation systems. For more comprehensive reviews of zinc nutrition and zinc deficiency, readers are referred to the other reviews in this volume and the review text of Mills (1989). An excellent review focused solely on zinc status and food intake has been presented by O'Dell and Reeves (1989).