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Watching Too Much TV Can Lead To Male Fertility Issues — Study

Tue, February 5, 2013 7:18pm EDT by 2 Comments
Watching TV Male Fertility
Invision/AP Images

Bad news, coach potatoes! A new study shows that men who watch too much TV have drastically lower sperm counts than their more active counterparts. Keep reading for full details from the revealing study.

Guess you’re going to have to cancel that date with your boyfriend to binge-watch this past season of Teen Mom 2 — the results of a new study by the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) strongly suggests that extensive TV-watching is detrimental to male fertility.

HSPH’s Surprising Findings

According to the study, the men who watched over 20 hours of television — around three hours per day — had a 44 percent lower sperm count than those who watched hardly none at all.

Additionally, men who exercised vigorously for more than 15 hours a week had a 73 percent higher sperm count than the men who exercised for less than five hours a week.

The takeaway seems obvious — more working out, less sitting around.

“We know very little about how lifestyle may impact semen quality and male fertility in general,” study leader Dr. Audrey Gaskins said, “so identifying two potentially modifiable factors that appear to have such a big impact on sperm counts is truly exciting.”

The study was done by examining the semen quality of 189 men between the ages of 18 and 22 who participated in a 2009-2010 study at the University of Rochester.

Each man was asked about their physical activity and how much time they spend watching TV, along with other questions regarding their general lifestyle and health.

According to another professor from HSPH, Jorge Chavarro, this is the first male fertility study that can speak to the general male population: “The majority of the previous studies on physical activity and semen quality had focused on professional marathon runners and cyclists,” he said, adding, “We were able to examine a range of physical activity that is more relevant to men in the general population.”

Another Doctor’s Opinion

In a dissenting opinion, Dr. Allan Pacey of the University of Sheffield voiced his skepticism about whether sitting lazily on the couch was the key to explaining male infertility. “I would agree that there is evidence to suggest that moderate exercise could change men’s physiology sufficiently to improve testicular health.” But, Dr. Pacey added, “It remains to be seen if coaxing a TV watching couch potato into doing some regular exercise could actually improve his sperm count.”

“Or whether there exists an unknown fundamental difference between men who like exercise and those who do not which might account for the findings.”

So, HollyMoms, if you needed a new reason to get your man off the couch and into the gym, here it is! Tell us what you think about the study — leave a comment below!

— Andrew Gruttadaro

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