Health Advice



Weight loss dramatically increases sperm count in obese men

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

Since 1980, the fertility rate for men younger than age 30 has decreased by 15%. At the same time, according to a 2020 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, the rate of obesity increased to 40.3% among men age 20-39, 46.45% in men 40-59, and 42.25% in those age 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.

Obese fathers-to-be looking for solutions to fertility woes can take heart from a study in Human Reproduction. Researchers looked at 56 obese men, ages 18-65, with a BMI between 32 and 43. The men lost on average 36.4 pounds, and eight weeks after the weight loss, their sperm concentration had increased by 50%. Plus, if the men maintained the weight loss for 52 weeks, their sperm count went up 200%! (Other benefits? You'll gain a healthier heart and better erections long-term.)

The formula that gave sperm the big boost: A combination of an 800-calorie-a-day diet for eight weeks followed by a year-long regimen of medication (a Glucagon Like Peptide 1 [GLP-1] analogue liraglutide) and exercise. The workout: 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise or a combination of both -- at 80% of max heartrate. So if you're struggling with fertility issues, talk to your doctor about adopting this weight loss-physical activity plan.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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