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Erectile Dysfunction Linked with Smoking and Obesity – Study Report

Active lifestyle practices reduce the risks associated with erectile dysfunction and other impairments among men//.

Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) revealed a positive correlation of erectile dysfunction with obesity and smoking habit whereas a negative correlation with regular physical activity and healthy lifestyle.

A prospective study by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found that obesity and smoking are strongly associated with a greater risk of erectile dysfunction (ED). Meanwhile, regular physical activity appeared to have a significant impact on lowering the risk of ED. This is the first large-scale prospective study to examine the links between ED and smoking, obesity, alcohol and a sedentary lifestyle. The study will appear in the July 2006 issue of The Journal of Urology.

The researchers, led by Constance Bacon, a former post-doctoral fellow at HSPH, and Eric Rimm , associate professor of epidemiology and nutrition at HSPH, surveyed 22,086 healthy subjects between the ages of 40 and 75 from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who reported good or very good erectile function and no major chronic disease before 1986. Among the participants, 17.7 percent (3,905) reported new onset of ED between 1986 and 2000. The researchers adjusted the results to take into account those with and without prostate cancer during the follow-up period, since prostate cancer treatments, such as radiation or surgery, may lead to ED.

The results showed that both smoking and obesity were associated with a higher risk of the development of ED among previously healthy men with good erectile function. The researchers also found that regular physical activity showed a strong inverse association with ED risk. ‘We found a 2.5-fold difference in risk of ED when we compared obese men who did little exercise with men who were not overweight and averaged 30 minutes of vigorous exercise a day.
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