Being obese may dim a man's chances of becoming a father - even if he is otherwise healthy, according to a new study published in the August 2008 issue for Fertility and Sterility.
Researchers compared the body mass index (BMI) of healthy men who had never fathered a children versus men were fathers. Blood levels of reproduction hormones such as testosterone were also recorded.
Of the 87 men in the study, 68 percent had had a child. On average, the fathers had a BMI that was lower than the men who'd never fathered a child.
The average BMI of the men with children was 28, which is classified as overweight, while the average BMI for childless men was nearly 32, which falls into the obese category.
The excess weight meant hormonal changes in the obese men. Compared with their thinner counterparts, obese men had lower blood levels of testosterone, as well as lower levels of other hormones that are essential to reproduction.
Past studies have linked obesity with lower sperm count in addition to decrease levels of testosterone leading to lower sex drive.
Researchers say those effects, along with other hormonal alterations seen in this study, could act together to decrease an obese man's fertility.
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