Malnutrition early in life has been linked to the later development of psychological problems in childhood and adolescence such as decreased attention, bad behaviour and a lower IQ. Researchers from Harvard Medical School studied 171 children aged between 11 and 17 from Barbados comparing those who had suffered from malnutrition in childhood with a healthy control group; they also looked into the effects of maternal depression. The study found that even taking into account the effects of maternal depression the children who had suffered from infant malnutrition were more likely to be depressed. But, regardless of whether children had suffered from malnutrition or not having a depressed mother was more likely to make children depressed.
Galler, J.R. ... [et al] - Early childhood malnutrition predicts depressive symptoms at ages 11-17 Journal of Child Psychology and PsychiatryJuly 2010, 51(7), 789-798