Beginning at either 1.5, 6 or 10 months of age, male mice from the A/J and C57BL/6J strains and their F1 hybrid, B6AF1/J were fed a diet (4.2 kcal/g) either ad libitum every day or in a restricted fashion by ad libitum feeding every other day. Relative to estimates for ad libitum controls, the body weights of the intermittently-fed restricted C57BL/6J and hybrid mice were reduced and mean and maximum life span were incremented when the every-other-day regimen was initiated at 1.5 or 6 months of age. When every-other-day feeding was introduced at 10 months of age, again both these genotypes lost body weight relative to controls; however, mean life span was not significantly affected although maximum life span was increased. Among A/J mice, intermittent feeding did not reduce body weight relative to ad libitum controls when introduced at 1.5 or 10 months of age; however, this treatment did increase mean and maximum life span when begun at 1.5 months, while it decreased mean and maximum life span when begun at 10 months. When restricted feeding was introduced to this genotype at 6 months of age, body weight reduction compared to control values was apparent at some ages, but the treatment had no significant effects on mean or maximum life span. These results illustrate that the effects of particular regimens of dietary restriction on body weight and life span are greatly dependent upon the genotype and age of initiation. Moreover, when examining the relationship of body weight to life span both between and within the various groups, it was clear that the complexity of this relationship made it difficult to predict that lower body weight would induce life span increment.