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Reported February 8, 2013

Watching TV Lowers Sperm Count


(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- The correlation between TV and a man’s sperm count is a tricky one.  New research suggests that healthy young men who watch TV for more than 20 hours a week have close to half the sperm count of men who watch very little TV, but 15 hours or more a week spent on moderate to vigorous exercise improves it by 73%. 
Study authors say that semen quality seems to have deteriorated over the past couple decades and it is not clear why.
To determine if an increasingly sedentary lifestyle might be a contributory factor, the study analyzed the semen quality of 189 men between ages of 18 to 22 in 2009 and 2010 from Rochester, NY.  
Study participants were asked about factors that might affect sperm quality, including medical or reproductive health problems, stress levels, smoking, and diet.  They were also asked about the quantity and intensity of weekly exercise they had over the preceding three months, how much time they spent watching TV, DVDs, or videos over the same period.  
Over half the men were in the normal range for weight and height.  Three out of four of them were non-smokers and they had low prevalence reproductive health problems. 
The amount of moderate to vigorous exercise every week ranged from 5 to 14 hours, while time spent watching TV varied from 4 to 20 hours.  Also, men who were more physical tended to have a healthier diet than those who watched a lot of TV.
The study found that exercise did not affect sperm motility, shape, or sample volume.  Light exercise made no difference to the sperm count, no matter how frequent it was.  
TV viewing had the opposite effect.  For those who watched the most, 20 hours or more a week, had a sperm count that was 44% lower than those who watched the least.  
Study authors caution that a reduced sperm count does not exactly curb a man’s fertility or his chances of being able to become a parent.  However, the findings do suggest that a more physically active lifestyle may improve semen quality.  
“Future studies should also evaluate the extent to which different exercise types affect semen quality as previous studies suggest that there might be opposing effects of different types of activity on semen characteristics,” study authors were quoted as saying. 
SOURCE:  British Journal of Sports Medicine, February 2013


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