Prenatal Nutritional Status and Intellectual Development

Critical Review and Evaluation
  • Susan Leigh Bauerfeld
  • Juliana Rasic Lachenmeyer
Part of the Advances in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ACCP, volume 14)


Malnourished children do not achieve the same levels of intellectual development and ability as adequately nourished children (Barnes, 1976; Birch & Gussow, 1970; Birch, 1972; Cravioto, DeLicardie, & Birch, 1966; Kaplan, 1972; Kelin & Pertz, 1978; Latham & Cobos, 1971; Tizard, 1976; Winick, 1970a; Zeskind & Ramey, 1978, 1981). Many believe that the lowered levels of intellectual development observed in malnourished children are due to structural differences in the brain, such as fewer and smaller brain cells, that are the direct result of inadequate nutrition during critical periods of brain growth (Cravioto et al., 1966; Kaplan, 1972; Kelin & Pertz, 1978; Latham & Cobos, 1971; Winick, 1970b). This line of reasoning suggests that by preventing such structural differences, improved prenatal and childhood nutrition will substantially increase intellectual functioning in prenatally malnourished populations (Barrett, Radke-Yarrow, & Klein, 1982; Dalby, 1978; Graham, 1985; Kaplan, 1972; Kelin & Pertz, 1978).


Fetal Growth Prenatal Exposure Intellectual Development Brain Growth Malnourished Child 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Leigh Bauerfeld
    • 1
  • Juliana Rasic Lachenmeyer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyFairleigh Dickinson UniversityTeaneckUSA

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