AccScience Publishing / IJPS / Volume 1 / Issue 1 / DOI: 10.18063/IJPS.2015.01.005

Earlier and more rapid ageing: Does nutrition contribute?

Giambattista Salinari1* Gustavo De Santis2
Show Less
1 1 Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Via Muroni 25, 07100 Sassari SS, Italy
2 Department of Statistics, Informatics, Applications “Giuseppe Parenti”, University of Florence, Viale Morgagni 59, 50134 Florence, Italy
© Invalid date by the Authors. Licensee AccScience Publishing, Singapore, Singapore. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution -Noncommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) ( )

This paper estimated three parameters related to demographic ageing, i.e., the acce-leration in mortality rates as people get older. These parameters are: (i) the age when the process begins (onset), (ii) the rate of ageing in a (simple) Gompertz model and (iii) the rate of ageing in a (more elaborate) Gamma-Gompertz model. These three indicators were estimated on the basis of female cohorts born in seven European countries between 1890 and 1919. Our results indicated a progressively earlier onset and a steeper rise in the rate of ageing in recent cohorts, i.e., ageing seems to have accelerated over time. The reasons for these shifts are still unknown, but due to their similarity with the results of a vast body of experiments of calorie restriction on lab animals, we suggested here that the changed dietary regime of humans since the end of the 19th century may have played a part in the evolution of their mortality schedule.

calorie restriction
ageing onset

Almond D and Mazumder B. (2005). The 1918 influenza pandemic and subsequent health outcomes: an analysis of SIPP data. The American Economic Review, 95(2): 258–262.


Austad S N. (1989). Life extension by dietary restriction in the bowl and doily spider, Frontinella pyra-mitela. Experimental Gerontology, 24(1): 83–92.


Bai J. (2010). Common breaks in means and variances for panel data. Journal of Econometrics, 157(1): 78–92.


Bartke A. (2012). Healthy ageing: is smaller better? A mini-review. Gerontology, 58(4): 337–343.


Bateson P, Barker D, Clutton-Brock T, et al. (2004). Developmental plasticity and human health. Nature, 430(6998): 419–421.


Baudisch A. (2011). The pace and shape of ageing. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, 2(4): 375–382.


Baudisch A and Vaupel J W. (2012). Getting to the root of ageing, Science, 338(6107): 618–619.


Bengtsson T 2004, Living standards and economic stress, in Life Under Pressure: Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900, Bengtsson T, Campbell C and Lee J Z (eds). The MIT Press.


Bodkin N L, Alexander T M, Ortmeyer H K, et al. (2003). Mortality and morbidity in laborato-ry-maintained Rhesus monkeys and effects of long-term dietary restriction. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, 58A(3): 212–219.


Bongaarts J. (2005). Long-range trends in adult mortality: Models and projection methods, Demography, 42(1): 23–49.


Brillinger D R. (1986). The natural variability of vital rates and associated statistics. Biometrics, 42(4): 693–734.


Bross T G, Rogina B and Helfand S L. (2005). Behavioral, physical, and demographic changes in Droso-phila populations through dietary restriction. Aging Cell, 4(6): 309–317.


Carnes B A, Holden L R, Olshansky S J, et al. (2006). Mortality partitions and their relevance to research on senescence. Biogerontology 7(4): 183–198.


Colman R J, Anderson R M, Johnson S C, et al. (2009). Caloric restriction delays disease onset and mor-tality in Rhesus monkeys. Science, 325(5937): 201–204.


Colman R J, Beasley T M, Kemnitz J W, et al. (2014). Caloric restriction reduces age-related and all-cause mortality in rhesus monkeys. Nature Communications, 5: 3557.


Finch C E, Beltrán-Sánchez H and Crimmins E M. (2014). Uneven futures of human lifespans: Reckon-ings from Gompertz mortality rates, climate change, and air pollution. Gerontology, 60(2): 183–188.


Finkelstein M and Esaulova V. (2006). Asymptotic behavior of a general class of mixture failure rates. Advances in Applied Probability, 38(1): 242–262.


Fogel R W and Costa D L. (1997). A theory of technophysio evolution, with some implications for fore-casting population, health care costs and pensions costs. Demography, 34(1): 49–66.


Fogel R W. (2004). The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700–2100: Europe, America, and the Third World. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


Fontana L, Partridge L and Longo V D. (2010), Extending healthy life span — from yeast to humans. Science, 328(5976): 321–326.


Franceschi C, Capri M, Monti D, et al. (2007). Inflammaging and anti-inflammaging: A systemic pers-pective on aging and longevity emerged from studies in humans. Mechanisms of Ageing and Devel-opment, 128(1): 92–105.


Gampe J. (2010). Human mortality beyond age 110, in Supercentenarians. Demographic Research Monographs No. 7, Maier H, Gampe J, Jeune B, et al. (eds), Springer, Heidelberg, 219–230.


Gardner E M. (2005). Caloric restriction decreases survival of aged mice in response to primary influenza infection. The Journals of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, 60A(6): 688–694.


Gavrilov L A and Gavrilova N S. (2011). Mortality measurement at advanced ages: A study of the Social Security Administration death master file. North American Actuarial Journal, 15(3): 432–447.


Gompertz B. (1825). On the nature of the function expressive of the law of human mortality, and on a new mode of determining the value of life contingencies. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 115(1825): 513–583.


Gurven M and Kaplan H. (2007). Longevity among hunter-gatherers: A cross-cultural examination. Pop-ulation and Development Review, 33(2): 321–365.


Gurven M, Kaplan H and Supa A Z. (2007). Mortality experience of Tsimane Amerindians of Bolivia: Regional variation and temporal trends. American Journal of Human Biology, 19(3): 376–398.


Hamilton W D.(1966). The moulding of senescence by natural selection. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 12(1): 12–45.


Harper J M, Leathers C W and Austad S N. (2006). Does caloric restriction extend life in wild mice? Ag-ing Cell, 5(6): 441–449.


Hatton T J and Bray E B. (2010). Long run trends in the heights of European men, 19th–20th centuries. Economics and Human Biology, 8(3): 405–413.


Hill K, Hurtado A M and Walker R S. (2007). High adult mortality among Hiwi hunter-gatherers: Impli-cations for human evolution. Journal of Human Evolution, 52(4): 443–454.


Holloszy J O and Fontana L. (2007). Caloric restriction in humans. Experimental Gerontology, 42(8): 709–712.


Horiuchi S and Coale A J. (1990). Age patterns of mortality for older women: An analysis using the age-specific rate of mortality change with age. Mathematical Population Studies, 2(4): 245–267.


Horiuchi S and Wilmoth J R. (1998). Deceleration in the age pattern of mortality at older ages. Demo-graphy, 35(4): 391–412.


Houthoofd K, Braeckman B P, Lenaerts I, et al. (2002). Axenic growth up-regulates mass-specific meta-bolic rate, stress resistance, and extends life span in Caenorhabditis elegans. Experimental Gerontology, 37(12): 1371–1378.


Ingle L, Wood T R and Banta A M (1937). A study of longevity, growth, reproduction and heart rate in Daphnia longispina as influenced by limitations in quantity of food. Journal of Experimental Zoolo-gy, 76(2): 325–352.


Jiang J C, Jaruga E , Repnevskaya M V, et al. (2000). An intervention resembling caloric restriction pro-longs life span and retards aging in yeast. The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 14(14): 2135–2137.


Kealy R D, Lawler D F, Ballam J M, et al. (2002). Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 220(9): 1315–1320.


Kirkwood T B L and Austad S N. (2000). Why do we age? Nature, 409(6809): 233–238.


Kristan D M. (2007). Chronic calorie restriction increases susceptibility of laboratory mice (Mus muscu-lus) to a primary intestinal parasite infection. Aging Cell, 6(6): 817–825.


Kristan D M. (2008). Calorie restriction and susceptibility to intact pathogens. Age, 30(2–3): 147–156.


Lenaerts I, van Eygen S and van Fleteren J. (2007). Adult-limited dietary restriction slows gompertzian ageing in Caenorhabditis elegans. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1100: 442–448.


Longo V D and Fontana L (2010). Calorie restriction and cancer prevention: Metabolic and molecular mechanisms. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, 31(2): 89–98.


Mair W, Goymer P, Pletcher S D, et al. (2003). Demography of dietary restriction and death in Drosophila. Science, 301(5640): 1731–1733.


Makeham W M. (1860). On the law of mortality and construction of annuity tables. Journal of the Insti-tute of Actuaries 13: 301–310.


Malthus T R. (1798). An Essay on the Pprinciple of Population. London, Johnson St. Paul’s Church-Yard.


Masoro E J. (2005). Overview of caloric restriction and ageing. Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, 126(9): 913–922.


Masoro E J. (2009). Caloric restriction-induced life extension of rats and mice: A critique of proposed mechanisms. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1790(10): 1040–1048.


Mattison J A, Roth G S, Beasley T M, et al. (2012). Impact of caloric restriction on health and survival in rhesus monkeys from the NIA study. Nature, 489: 318–321.


Missov T I and Finkelstein M. (2011). Admissible mixing distributions for a general class of mixture sur-vival models with known asymptotics. Theoretical Population Biology, 80(1): 64–70.


Missov T I and Vaupel J W. (2015). Mortality implications of mortality plateaus. SIAM Review, 57(1): 61–70.


Olshansky S J and Carnes B A. (1997). Ever since Gompertz. Demography, 34(1), 1–15.


Omodei D and Fontana L. (2011). Calorie restriction and prevention of age-associated chronic disease. FEBS letters, 585(11): 1537–1542.


Pahlavani M A. (2004). Influence of caloric restriction on ageing immune system. The Journal of Nutri-tion, Health and Ageing, 8(1): 38–47.


Pinney D O, Stephens D F and Pope L S. (1972). Lifetime effects of winter supplemental feed level and age at first parturition on range beef cows. Journal of Animal Science, 34: 1067–1074.


Rattan S I. (2006). Theories of biological ageing: Genes, proteins, and free radicals. Free Radical Re-search, 40(12): 1230–1238.


Rattan S I. (2008). Increased molecular damage and heterogeneity as the basis of aging. Biological Che-mistry, 389(3): 267–272.


Ritz B W and Gardner E M. (2006). Malnutrition and energy restriction differentially affect viral immun-ity. Journal of Nutrition, 136(5): 1141–1144.


Ritz B W, Aktan I, Nogusa S, et al. (2008). Energy restriction impairs natural killer cell function and in-creases the severity of influenza infection in young adult male c57bl/6 mice. The Journal of Nutrition, 138(11): 2269–2275.


Roth L W and Polotsky A J. (2012). Can we live longer by eating less? A review of caloric restriction and longevity. Maturitas, 71(4): 315–319.


Salinari G and De Santis G. (2014). Comparing the rate of individual senescence across time and space. Population English Edition, 69(2): 191–216.


Salinari G and De Santis G. (2015). On the beginning of mortality acceleration. Demography 52(1): 39–60.


Sanderson W C and Scherbov S. (2008). Rethinking age and ageing. Population Bulletin, 63(4): 3–16.


Sanderson W C and Scherbov S. (2013). The characteristics approach to the measurement of population ageing. Population and Development Review, 39(4): 673–685.


Strehler B L and Mildvan A S. (1960). General theory of mortality and aging. Science, 132(3418): 14–21.


Sun D, Muthukumar A R, Lawrence R A, et al. (2001). Effects of calorie restriction on polymicrobial peritonitis induced by cecum ligation and puncture in young C57BL/6 mice. Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology, 8(5): 1003–1011.


Vaupel J W, Manton K G and Stallard E. (1979). The impact of heterogeneity in individual frailty on the dynamics of mortality. Demography, 16(3): 439–454.


Vaupel J W, Carey J R, Christensen K, et al. (1998). Biodemographic trajectories of longevity. Science, 280(5365): 855–860.


Vaupel J W. (2010). Biodemography of human ageing. Nature, 464(7288): 536–542.


Waaler H Y. (1984). Height, weight and mortality: The Norwegian experience. Acta Medica Scandinavica, 215(679S): 1–56.


Weindruch R and Walford R L. (1982). Dietary restriction in mice beginning at 1 year of age: Effect on life-span and spontaneous cancer incidence. Science, 215(4538): 1415–1418.


Woodward B. (1998). Protein, calories and immune defenses. Nutrition Reviews, 56(1): S84–S92.


Yen K and Mobbs C V. (2008). Chemosensory and caloric mechanisms influence distinct components of mortality rate. Experimental Gerontology, 43(12): 1058–1060.


Zarulli V. (2013). The effect of mortality shocks on the age-pattern of adult mortality. Population-English Edition, 68(2): 265–291.


Zheng H, Yang Y and Land K C. (2011). Heterogeneity in the Strehler-Mildvan general theory of mortal-ity and aging. Demography, 48(1): 267–290.

Back to top
International Journal of Population Studies, Electronic ISSN: 2424-8606 Print ISSN: 2424-8150, Published by AccScience Publishing