The prevalence of obesity among men has doubled in only 25 years, and it’s slowly killing us. A survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 71% of men 20 years old and over were overweight and 31% were obese.
Just some years back in the 1970s, a similar survey had found 47% of men were overweight and 15% were obese.
Another new study has shown that obesity has a significant impact on male sexual health. The study used 2,435 Italian male patients who sought outpatient treatment for sexual dysfunction between 2001 and 2007 as its test subjects.
These patients composition is as follows:
- 5% were normal weight,
- 4% were overweight,
- 1% were obese, and
- 4% were severely obese.
- The mean age was 52.
Science is searching for the causes of obesity and exploring the role of all potential causative agents like genes, diets, feeding habits, etc, but the bottom line is that most of us have settled into sedentary lifestyles and have trouble resisting the temptations of our cultural food.
As we continue to modernize our lifestyles (riding instead of walking and playing iPods instead of sports), more people are becoming overweight and obese. Currently, there are so many overweight and obese people that public health officials now call it an epidemic, for the most part, because of the many resulting health problems.
Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2).
The currently accepted criteria for overweight is defined as BMI levels greater than 25 kg/m2 and obesity as BMI of 30 kg/m2, and individuals are considered obese when they weigh more than 20% above their ideal weight.
Obesity And Sexual Health
Apart from other areas of health, another major ailment associated with obesity is poor sexual health.
Erectile dysfunction is commonly attributed to obesity, and even in women, obesity results in infertility and difficulty in conception.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, is one of the most common chronic conditions men face these days, and it’s estimated that 18 million men older than 20 years, experience it to some degree.
Erectile dysfunction is the inability to achieve or maintain an erection for desired sexual activity, and men experience it in different ways. Various things can cause ED, but there’s a consistently strong link between obesity and sexual dysfunction.
A study has it that obese men are 2½ times more likely to experience ED than those of normal weight.
First, obesity can lead to cardiovascular conditions such as cholesterol deposits on the walls of blood vessels that obstruct blood flow to your organs, including the penile one.
Also, obese men have lower levels of testosterone, which is vital to sexual function. This low testosterone level affects the ability to achieve erections because, testosterone is needed to increase the availability of nitric oxide, a blood vessel dilator in penile tissue.
Studies have shown that in men over 40 years, each one-point increase in body mass index (BMI) was associated with a 2% decrease in testosterone.
Furthermore, the connection between heart health and sexual health is so strong that erectile dysfunction can often be the first sign of cardiovascular disease in overweight or obese men.
Researchers have found that nearly all men who had coronary artery disease had experienced ED an average of 2 to 3 years before developing heart symptoms, and according to doctors at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, erectile dysfunction may be a predictor of future heart attacks and strokes because of its connection to obesity.
Being overweight can also place psychological obstacles between you and healthy sex life, as a result of:
- decreased testosterone levels, which may cause you to experience low libido,
- a depressed mood,
- decreased energy, and
- A diminished sense of vitality and well-being; which could all collude to further inhibit your ability and, your desire to have a satisfying sex life.
Obesity and Reproductive Functions
Obesity is also linked to low sperm counts and reduced sperm motility, which can lead to male infertility. Studies have shown that for every 3-point increase in a man’s body mass index, BMI, couples were 10% more likely to be infertile.
Moreover, higher temperatures of the scrotum are linked to low sperm count, and excess fat in the inner thighs and pubic region results in high testes temperatures which may be high enough to hinder sperm production.
Obesity and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia or Enlargement of Prostate
Obesity is linked to a benign enlargement of the prostate gland. This is common in older men, and men with waists of 43 inches or larger have been found to be 2 times more likely to need surgery for Benign prostate hyperplasia than men with waists smaller than 35 inches.
The prostate gland also releases prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and PSA is a measure for the progression of prostate cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, studies have linked extra body fat and the risk of developing prostate cancer to being overweight.
Being overweight increases a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 8%, while being obese raises the risk by 20%. Being morbidly obese increases risk by 34%, and obesity causes recurrence of prostate cancer while raising the risk of its spread to other organs.
Finding a Solution to Weight Loss, As A Remedy For Erectile Dysfunction
It’s time to shed that extra weight, since researchers at the Center for Obesity Management in Italy, found that weight loss improved sexual function in one-third of obese men.
The idea of weight loss can overwhelm you, but the rules are actually simple. First, aim to lose 1 or 2 pounds a week, which means cutting out hundreds to thousand calories each day.
Getting our obesity and overweight under control will involve more than just diet, it requires an integrated approach that includes:
- Promoting healthy eating habits
- encouraging exercise
- Developing public policies that promote access to healthy, low-fat, high-fiber foods
- Training healthcare professionals to effectively support people who need to lose weight and help those who want to avoid gaining weight
Here’s what you can do to lose weight or avoid becoming overweight:
- Eat more fruit, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.
- Exercise, for at least 30 minutes a day.
- Cut down your consumption of fatty and sugary foods, and use vegetable-based oils rather than animal-based fats.
You Might Be Interested In: Psychological Interventions and Surgery for Weight Loss
After all, the link between obesity and erectile dysfunction might be a useful motivation for men to improve their health-related lifestyle choices.