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Earlier and more rapid ageing: Does nutrition contribute?

Giambattista Salinari, Gustavo De Santis

Abstract

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.

Keywords

ageing; nutrition; Gamma-Gompertz; calorie restriction; ageing onset

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/IJPS.2015.01.005
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