Food Consumption Early In Life Affects Fertility, Study Says

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Food consumption early in life affects fertility, study saysThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 7.3 million American women between the ages of 15 and 44 are unable to have children. Approximately 7 percent of married women in that age bracket are infertile.

Infertility is a condition that haunts many men and women in America who want nothing more than to conceive a child, and it has led many people to seek answers about the causes of the disorder. A new study reveals that the amount of food people consume as children may influence their ability to reproduce later in life.

A research team from the University of Sheffield analyzed the church record data on births in 18th century Finland and compared it to agricultural data on crop yields of rye and barley in the same time and place. The study, which appeared in the Dec. 17 edition of the journal Ecology, found that about half of the children who were born during a year in which both rye and barley yields were low would not go on to have any offspring of their own.

On the other hand, almost every child who was born during harvest years, when crops were high, would go on to reproduce at least once in his or her lifetime.

"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," said Ian Rickard, the lead author of the study. 

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