Obesity in boys increased risk of infertilityOverweight boys aged 9-14 years had smaller testicular volumes than their normal weight counterparts. Careful control of body weight and insulin resistance during childhood and adolescence can help avoid reproductive problems in the future.
Researchers from Catania University analyzed the effect of childhood obesity on testicular volume changes. The results of the study were published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
The analysis showed that peripubertal children (9-14 years of age) with normal weight had testicular volume 1.5 times greater than in overweight or obese peers. No significant differences were observed in other age groups.
In addition, scientists found an effect of insulin levels in boys on testicular volume. Thus, boys younger than 9 years old and adolescents 14-16 years old with normal insulin levels had testicular volume 1.5-2 times greater than among participants with hyperinsulinemia.
The study involved 268 boys of three age groups: prepubertal (under 9 years), peripubertal (9-14 years) and postpubertal adolescents (14-16 years). Normal weight was detected in 62 participants, elevated weight in 54 children. Obesity was diagnosed in 79 and severe obesity in 73.
115 children and adolescents had insulin levels below 20 µIU/ml. Elevated insulin levels of 20 µIU/ml or greater were found in 45 participants, while insulin resistance was diagnosed in 80 people. In addition, prediabetes was found in 22 children and type 2 diabetes in three.
The authors of the study believe that obesity and related metabolic disorders can lead to decreased testicular volume and therefore sperm production in adulthood. Reducing weight in children will avoid infertility later in life.