Couch potatoes take notice: The Feb. 4 edition of the British Journal of Sports Medicine reports that an American study conducted at the University of Rochester in N.Y. found that watching too much television may lower a man's sperm count. Men now have another reason to get off the couch.
The study of 189 healthy 18- to 22-year-old men who watched the most TV (20 or more hours a week) had sperm counts that were 44 percent lower than men who did not watch television. Time to read a book!
The findings held after the researchers took into account factors that could affect sperm count, such as smoking, body mass index (BMI) and calorie intake.
Exercise is best! The men in the study who exercised the most, doing 15 or more hours a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity had sperm counts that were higher than those of guys who exercised less than 5 hours a week.
The findings suggest that having a more physically active lifestyle may improve sperm quality, said study researcher Audrey Gaskins, a doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health. Previous studies have found that being obese and eating a high-fat die are risk factors for lower sperm counts.
Before you drastically change your lifestyle note that the researchers don't know if the lower sperm counts seen in the study would have an effect on the men's fertility.
All the men involved in the study were enrolled at the University of Rochester in N.Y. in 2009 and 2010. They were asked about their levels of physical activity and TV watching during the previous three months. More than half of the men were of normal weight, and 75 percent were non-smokers.