Dietary intake changes during the course of aging. Normally an increase in food intake is observed around 55 years of age, which is followed by a reduction in food intake in individuals over 65 years of age. This reduction in dietary intake results in lowered levels of body fat and body weight, a phenomenon known as anorexia of aging. Anorexia of aging has a variety of consequences, including a decline in functional status, impaired muscle function, decreased bone mass, micronutrient deficiencies, reduced cognitive functions, increased hospital admission and even premature death. Several changes during lifetime have been implicated to play a role in the reduction in food intake and the development of anorexia of aging. These changes are both physiological, involving peripheral hormones, senses and central brain regulation and non-physiological, with differences in psychological and social factors. In the present review, we will focus on age-related changes in physiological and especially non-physiological factors, that play a role in the age-related changes in food intake and in the etiology of anorexia of aging. At the end we conclude with suggestions for future nutritional research to gain greater understanding of the development of anorexia of aging which could lead to earlier detection and better prevention.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.