It seems like there is barely a passing news day, or week at the very least, without some new medical study about the nation’s obesity epidemic. It’s the topic du jour, tous les jours.
A new study from the University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine indicates that obesity may not only be a question of individual growth, but overall population growth. The adverse affects of obesity on fertility are well documented. As the nation sees ever-increasing obesity-related infertility rates, the long-term effect could be a decline in the population.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimates that 66% of American adults could be categorized as overweight or obese, and that number is projected to increase to 75% by 2015. When it comes to having a baby, obesity can affect nearly all stages of the game from conception to delivery.
The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology reported that obese women may have up to 120% more difficulty in conceiving, are 67% more likely to have a miscarriage, and have a 124% increase in some birth defects. Other complications in obese pregnant women include gestational diabetes mellitus, stillbirth, fetal anomalies, fetal macrosomia, and cesarean delivery.
Obese men aren’t immune to fertility woes either. Men who are obese may be 42% more likely to have a low sperm count and 80% more likely to have no sperm than men of a “normal weight,” the study suggests.
While weight loss can help regulate menstruation and improve ovulation, thereby improving overall fertility, losing weight is not the cure all to infertility. Conversely, obese women may have the opposite problem. They may not respond as well to hormonal contraception, and may experience more unexpected pregnancies.
Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion on Twitter @emarrion_cmn.