Recent research has suggested that early dietary habits can have an effect on long-term fertility levels.
A team of scientists from the University of Sheffield looked at a combination of church record data on births in 18th century Finland and agricultural data on crop yields of rye and barley from the same time and place.
Publishing their results in the journal Ecology, the researchers revealed that men and women born into poor families had a link between their nutritional intake very early in life and their chances of having children throughout their lifetime.
Indeed, among people born in high-yield years, almost everyone went on to have children at some point in their lives.
However, of those born in a year of low crop yield, approximately half of the poorer people did not have children.
Dr Ian Rickard from Sheffield University commented: "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."