Since 1980, the fertility rate for men younger than age 30 has decreased by 15%. At the same time, according to a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the rate of obesity increased to 40.3% among men age 20-39, 46.45% in men 40-59, and 42.25% in those age 60 and over. How are these stats related? A Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study found that obese men were 42% more likely to have a low sperm count than their normal-weight peers and 81% more likely to produce no sperm.
Obese fathers-to-be looking for solutions to fertility woes can take heart from a study in Human Reproduction. Researchers looked at 56 obese men, ages 18-65, with a BMI between 32 and 43. The men lost on average 36.4 pounds, and eight weeks after the weight loss, their sperm concentration had increased by 50%. Plus, if the men maintained the weight loss for 52 weeks, their sperm count went up 200%! (Other benefits? You'll gain a healthier heart and better erections long-term.)
The formula that gave sperm the big boost: A combination of an 800-calorie-a-day diet for eight weeks followed by a year-long regimen of medication (a Glucagon Like Peptide 1 [GLP-1] analogue liraglutide) and exercise. The workout: 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or a combination of both -- at 80% of max heartrate. So if you're struggling with fertility issues, talk to your doctor about adopting this weight loss-physical activity plan.
King Features Syndicate