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Time in Front of the TV Decreases Sperm Count, Study Says
February 6, 2013
A recent Harvard University study says watching TV can cut your sperm count in half.
The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine blames lower physical activity for the decrease in a man’s swimmers, citing sedentary men as those most likely to experience the effects. However, just three hours of time spent in front of the TV per day can lower sperm count.
We already know how environmental factors impact our fertility: chemicals found in everyday items, diet, and too much or too little exercise can compromise both male fertility and female fertility. In addition, too tight clothing and improper bike equipment can be harmful to a man’s sperm quality and quantity. Scientists say the effects in this study could be linked to a lack of exercise or even overheating of the testicles caused by sitting too long.
The research team at the Harvard School of Public Health, led by Dr. Audrey Gaskins, analyzed existing data of over 189 men between the ages of 18 and 22 who reported viewing 20 or more hours of television each week and also showed 44% lower sperm count in their semen analysis (as compared to men who watched little to no TV). Those who were moderately physically active for 15 hours or more per week had 73% greater sperm count than those dedicated five or fewer hours per week to moderate exercise. This data reflects what medical professionals have been saying for years- everything in moderation! Male fertility experts caution that excessive exercise like triathlons can be as much of a detriment to male fertility as inactivity. There needs to be a balance, both in terms of exercise and temperature to which the testes are exposed.
The field of reproductive medicine, particularly that of male fertility, would benefit from a larger scale study which examines intensity of exercise and its impact on the sperm counts of an average male. Much of the available data focuses on sperm counts of athletes, which cannot be generalize to the entire population. Overall, this study was well-controlled for all environmental risks including diet, stress, smoking, and body mass index.