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We are expected to live longer than if we had been born 100 years ago however, the additional years are not necessarily spent in good health or free from disability. Body composition changes dramatically over the course of life. There is a gradual increase in body weight throughout adult life until the age of about 60-65 years. In contrast, body weight appears to decrease with age after the age of 65-75 years, even in those demonstrating a previous healthy body weight. This age related decrease in body weight, often called unintentional weight loss or involuntary weight loss can be a significant problem for the elderly. This has been shown to be related to decline in appetite and food intake is common amongst the elderly and is often referred to the anorexia of aging. Underlying mechanisms regulate energy homeostasis and appetite may change as people age. In this review, peripheral factors regulating appetite have been summarized in regards to their age-dependent changes and role in the etiology of anorexia of aging. Understanding the alterations in the mechanisms regulating appetite and food intake in conjunction with aging may help inform strategies that promote healthy aging and promote health and wellbeing in the elderly years, with the end goal to add life to the years and not just years to our lives.

Original publication




Journal article


Aging and Disease

Publication Date





264 - 275