The number of men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED) in the United States has risen by 250% since 1998, according to an article in a recent issue of the Harvard Health Letter. The results of a large-scale study, reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine, demonstrated that keeping fit appears to help with this problem.
For the study, researchers evaluated 31,742 men between the ages of 53 and 90 who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. None of the men had been diagnosed with prostate cancer prior to the study, and all had completed questionnaires regarding their health. In all, 33% of the men reported having had ED in the previous 3 months. The results showed that men who did the equivalent of 3 hours of running weekly or playing 5 hours of singles tennis reported a 30% lower risk of ED, compared with men who did little or no exercise. On the other hand, watching >20 hours of television each week, excessive consumption of alcohol, and being overweight were connected with higher levels of ED.