Obesity & Its Impact on Men’s Health
Posted on June 21, 2016
The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease. We feel it is appropriate with this being Men’s Health Month to reflect on a recent survey which stated that across the board men prefer optimal health to a lavish lifestyle. This is not surprising because we all have that deep desire to live a full and active life. Financial security is good but in the end no one says I wish I had a few more dollars.
As a urologist who specializes in men’s sexual and reproductive health I find myself on the front lines of those early assaults on a man’s overall and reproductive health. The first wave of attack is usually obesity. Being overweight and obese reduces a man’s fertility. Overweight and obese men have worse sperm quality than men of healthy weight. Male obesity can reduce fertility by lowering testosterone levels and increasing the risk of erectile dysfunction. Obesity also is an important causal factor in type 2 diabetes and it complicates management of the disease, making treatment less effective. Psychological disorders which obesity may trigger include depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and low self-esteem. I wanted to share a few things for men particularly under the age of 40 that you can start to do which will set a trajectory for optimal weight and thus optimal health.
First start to weigh yourself daily. Many men find themselves overweight and have no idea how they got there. Second begin to count your calories. You will be surprised how little you have to eat in order to exceed your daily caloric requirement. All it takes is being 500 calories over this threshold each day for the pounds to start piling on. Third cut out any fast food, processed food and carbonated beverages from your diet. These are all calorically dense foods which need to be replaced with fruit, vegetables and lean meats. Fourth, find some form of aerobic activity that you can do an hour a day five days a week. As you get older the pull is to become more sedentary. This sets up a vicious cycle of inactivity, lower caloric needs, weight gain, more inactivity, even less caloric needs etc. With these simple steps you can begin to combat the biggest silent health issue our culture has produced.
Michael A. Witt, M.D.