A new study from the University of Sheffield reveals that the nutrition received by men and women during their early years influences their future reproductive health.
The said research was published in the journal Ecology and is a pioneering study that suggests the effects of nutrition on fertility.
The team of researchers pooled church data from 18th century Finland, together with agricultural data on the crop yields of barley and rye from the same area and period.
The data showed that the early nutrition of men and women had an effect on their fertility. Around 50% of those born in poor families and in the year when barley and rye yields were poor would not have offspring their whole lives. On the contrary, those born from poor families but in years when the harvest was bountiful were able to reproduce at least once during their lifetime.
The results support the notion that food during the prenatal or early postnatal phase may “limit the development of the reproductive system.”
Said research leader, Dr. Ian Rickard from the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield, “Our results show that the food received by children born into poor families had an influence on their later reproductive success. These results have implications for our understanding of early environmental effects on human and animal health and will help shed light on our current understanding of fertility and whether it is influenced by individual or social factors."