Dietary intake, dietary patterns, and changes with age: an epidemiological perspective

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2001 Oct;56 Spec No 2:65-80. doi: 10.1093/gerona/56.suppl_2.65.


Cohort and cross-sectional data were reviewed to describe the changes in dietary intake with age. Total energy intake decreases varied substantially with age, by 1000 to 1200 kcal in men and by 600 to 800 kcal in women. This resulted in concomitant declines in most nutrient intakes. For some nutrients, substantial numbers of older Americans consumed only one fifth to one third of the recommended dietary allowance. For most nutrients, research is lacking with which to judge the health impact of reduced nutrient consumption with age, although there is some evidence of an age-related decline in absorptive and metabolic function. With the aging of the population, more research is needed on nutrient requirements and health outcomes, and public health efforts are needed to increase physical activity and food intake among older people.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minerals
  • Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Nutrition Disorders / etiology
  • Nutrition Disorders / prevention & control
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritive Value
  • Research
  • United States
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage


  • Minerals
  • Vitamins