Longitudinal changes in resting metabolic rates with aging are accelerated by diseases

Marta Zampino, Majd Alghatrif, Pei Lun Kuo, Eleanor Marie Simonsick, Luigi Ferrucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Resting metabolic rate (RMR) declines with aging and is related to changes in health status, but how specific health impairments impact basal metabolism over time has been largely unexplored. We analyzed the association of RMR with 15 common age-related chronic diseases for up to 13 years of follow-up in a population of 997 participants to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. At each visit, participants underwent measurements of RMR by indirect calorimetry and body composition by DEXA. Linear regression models and linear mixed effect models were used to test cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of RMR and changes in disease status. Several diseases were associated with higher RMR at baseline. Independent of covariates, prevalent COPD and cancer, as well as incident diabetes, heart failure, and CKD were associated with a steeper decline in RMR over time. Chronic diseases seem to have a two-phase association with RMR. Initially, RMR may increase because of the high cost of resiliency homeostatic mechanisms. However, as the reserve capacity becomes exhausted, a catabolic cascade becomes unavoidable, resulting in loss of total and metabolically active mass and consequent RMR decline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3061
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Body composition
  • Chronic diseases
  • Resting metabolic rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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