The study, to be presented at ENDO 2022, indicates that children and adolescents who are overweight or obese, or who have high levels of insulin or insulin resistance, are more likely than their peers with normal weight and insulin levels. Have small testicles.
“More careful control of body weight in childhood and adolescence may help maintain testicular function later in life,” said lead researcher Rossella Canrella from the University of Catania in Italy.
The prevalence of male infertility is on the rise, and the average worldwide sperm count for no apparent reason has halved over the past 40 years, he said.
Testicular volume (a measure of testicle size) is directly related to sperm count. This means that the smaller testicles produce less sperm.
“This evidence suggests a possible link between high prevalence of childhood obesity and low testicular volume in youth,” she said.
To look for a possible link between low testicular volume and obesity, researchers assessed testicular volume in 53 children and adolescents who were overweight and 150 with obesity.
Their results were compared with those of 61 age-matched healthy peers. Normal-weight boys and adolescents had significantly higher testicular volume than their peers who were obese or overweight.
The study also looked at the relationship between obesity-related metabolic abnormalities, such as insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, on testicular volume.
“These findings help explain the reason for the higher prevalence of reduced testicular size in young men,” Canarella said.
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