MEN who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count, according to a new study.
A sedentary lifestyle can have a major impact on a man's ability to reproduce, the research found. And while regular, vigorous exercise was shown to boost sperm count, excessive television-watching can counteract these positive effects.
The study, published by the 'British Journal of Sports Medicine', looked at the lifestyles of 189 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 22, over a three-month period, to establish a link between environmental factors and semen quality.
It found an increasingly idle lifestyle might be a contributing factor to declining sperm levels. Other factors assessed included medical or reproductive health problems, diet, stress levels and smoking.
Men who watched more than 20 hours of television a week had a sperm count 44pc lower than those who watched the least, it found.
Volunteers who were most physically active, doing more than 15 hours of exercise a week, had a 73pc higher sperm count than the least physically active.
However, men who did regular exercise but also watched a lot of TV recorded lower sperm counts.
Sperm counts and quality in the Western world have deteriorated over the past few decades.
In December, the world's largest investigation into this area found a sharp fall. Between 1989 and 2005, average sperm counts fell by a third, according to an analysis of 26,000 men.
A worldwide drop in sperm count levels has also been accompanied by a rise in testicular cancer – rates have doubled in the last 30 years. (© Independent News Service)