Eating Behavior in Aging and Dementia: The Need for a Comprehensive Assessment

S. Fostinelli, R. De Amicis, A. Leone, V. Giustizieri, G. Binetti, S. Bertoli, A. Battezzati, S.F. Cappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eating behavior can change during aging due to physiological, psychological, and social changes. Modifications can occur at different levels: (1) in food choice, (2) in eating habits, and (3) in dietary intake. A good dietary behavior, like the Mediterranean dietary pattern, can be a protective factor for some aging related pathologies, such as dementia, while a worse eating behavior can lead to pathological conditions such as malnutrition. Changes in eating behavior can also be linked to the onset of dementia: for some types of dementia, such as frontotemporal dementia, dietary changes are one of the key clinical diagnostic feature, for others, like Alzheimer's disease, weight loss is a clinical reported feature. For these reasons, it is important to be able to assess eating behavior in a proper way, considering that there are normal age-related changes. An adequate assessment of dietary behavior can help to plan preventive intervention strategies for heathy aging or can help to identify abnormal behaviors that underline aging related-diseases. In this review, we have analyzed normal age-related and dementia-related changes and the tools that can be used to assess eating behavior. Thus, we make recommendations to screening and monitoring eating behavior in aging and dementia, and to adopt these tools in clinical practice.

Original languageItalian
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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