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Eat Behav. 2008 Aug;9(3):370-5. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.10.006. Epub 2007 Nov 12.

Differences in eating behaviors between nonobese, weight stable young and older adults.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise (0430), Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Habitual dietary intake, dietary cognitive restraint (CR), disinhibition and hunger are eating behaviors that influence energy balance in both young and older adults. Since the prevalence of overweight and obesity in older adults is steadily rising, it is important to identify eating behavior adaptations that allow individuals to maintain a healthy body weight with advancing age. The association of age with habitual dietary intake, dietary CR, dishinhibition and hunger was examined in 30 older (60-72 years) and 30 younger (18-25 years) nonobese, weight stable, nondieting healthy adults pair-matched by age group for sex, physical activity level (active >150 min of physical activity per week, sedentary <150 min of physical activity per week) and BMI. Dietary CR was significantly greater and hunger was significantly less in older compared to young adults (both P<0.05). Disinhibition scores, habitual energy and macronutrient intake did not differ between age groups. These results indicate that weight management in older, nonobese adults may be facilitated by increased dietary CR and decreased susceptibility to hunger with age. Additionally, changes in energy and macronutrient intake may not be necessary for successful weight management with advancing age.

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