Thursday, June 17, 2010

Obesity Can Impact Sex Life

A recent study by British and French researchers has alarmed me enough to work on getting rid of the ever-increasing 'beer belly'!! The results clearly show that obesity can adversely affect sexual health.

Given my background in six sigma and statistics, I sometimes have a bit of an unhealthy obsession for numbers (notice I didn't say 'figures' - *nudge, nudge* - that would be too much of a pun). The corellations found in this study are well worth summarizing here.

Just some of the key conclusions are as follows:

1. Obese women have four times as many unplanned pregnancies as healthy-weight women despite having less sex.

2. Obese men are more likely to have sexual diseases despite fewer partners.

3. Obese women are less likely to ask for contraceptive advice or use the pill.

4. Obese men are two and half times more likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction.

5. Obese men are 70 percent less likely to have had more than one sexual partner in the past year.

6. Obese men under 30 years old are far more likely to have had a sexually transmitted disease.

7. Sexual dysfunction is not linked to BMI in women, but obese women under 30 years old are less likely than women of normal weight to seek contraceptive advice or use oral contraceptives.

8. Obese women under 30 are also more likely to report an unplanned pregnancy.

9. Obese women are five times as likely to have met their partner on the internet, more likely to have an obese partner, and less likely to view sex as important for personal life balance

Experts have said that the public health impact of the findings is important. Obesity is a real problem in many wealthy nations today and numbers in developing countries are also increasing. In the United States, two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese.

Sandy Goldbeck-Wood is a specialist in psychosexual medicine at Britain's Ipswich Hospital. She wrote an editorial on the study in the "British Medical Journal" (BMJ). She stated, "In public health terms, the study lends a new slant to a familiar message: that obesity can harm not only health and longevity, but your sex life."

The research is the first major study to investigate the impact of being obese on sexual activity and other factors such as sexual satisfaction, unintended pregnancy and abortion.

The study surveyed the sexual behavior of 12,364 men and women aged between 18 and 69 years in France. About half of them were normal weight, with a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 25. About 2500 of them were overweight, with a BMI of 25 to 30, and about 750 of them were obese, with a BMI over 30.

That's it - I'm off to the gym!!

The abstract in the British Medical Journal (BMJ): http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/340/jun15_1/c2573


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