Since 1980, the fertility rate for men younger than 30 has decreased by 15%. At the same time, according to a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the rates of obesity increased to 40.3% among men ages 20-39, 46.45% in men 40-59, and 42.25% in those ages 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 at all.
Obese fathers-to-be looking for solutions to fertility woes can take heart from a study in the journal Human Reproduction that looked at 56 obese men ages 18-65 with a body mass index (BMI) between 32 and 43. The men lost an average of 36.4 pounds, and eight weeks after the weight loss, their sperm concentration had increased by 50%.
In addition, if the men maintained the weight loss for 52 weeks, their sperm count went up 200%. (You'll also have a healthier heart and better erections over the long term.)
The formula that gave sperm the big boost was combination of an 800-calorie-a-day diet for eight weeks followed by a yearlong regimen of medication (the glucagon-like peptide 1 analogue liraglutide) and exercise. The workouts consisted of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise, or a combination of both.
If you're struggling with fertility issues, talk to your doctor about adopting this weight-loss plan.