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Increased BMI in Men Linked to Infertility

he majority of men and women were more than 30 years old. Twenty-eight percent of the couples had experienced infertility.

Researchers found that men’s BMI was an independent risk factor for infertility. The researchers adjusted for other factors that could affect fertility, including high BMI of the woman, age, cigarette smoking, alcohol intake, and solvent and pesticide exposure. After adjustment, there was a general increase in infertility with increased BMI, reaching a nearly 2-fold increase among obese men.

When researchers divided the sample into two equal groups by men’s age, they found that men’s BMI was a risk factor for infertility in both the older and younger men.

The researchers did not have data on frequency of sexual intercourse, so it is possible that overweight men have less sexual intercourse than their normal weight counterparts and this could influence fertility. However, there have been recent studies looking at semen characteristics that show lower semen quality for overweight and obese men, as well as hormonal differences.

“This study provides data on some additional health problems associated with obesity,” said David A. Schwartz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. “Preventing obesity can help improve men’s overall health, perhaps even their reproductive health.”

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