Obese young males appear to have 40% to 50% less testosterone than their normal-weight peers, according to the results of a small study published online on September 13, 2012, in Clinical Endocrinology. The study was carried out by a team of researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo who previously established an association between low testosterone levels and obesity in adult men.
The researchers tested morning fasting blood samples from 25 obese and 25 normal-weight males aged 14 to 20 years who were pubertal or post-pubertal. Their results showed that, after controlling for age and stage of sexual development, obese participants had significantly lower total testosterone (10.5 vs 21.44 nmol/L), free testosterone (0.22 vs 0.39 nmol/L), and calculated free testosterone (0.26 vs 0.44 nmol/L) than normal-weight participants.
The results need to be confirmed with a larger number of participants, but they are noteworthy because the reduced testosterone levels increase the potential of impotence and infertility in adulthood. “These findings demonstrate that the effect of obesity is powerful, even in the young, and that lifestyle and nutritional intake starting in childhood have major repercussions throughout all stages of life,” said Paresh Dandona, MD, PhD, the study’s lead author, in a press release.