Obese men may have a harder time having kids

Before starting a family, many women gravitate toward healthy habits such as taking pre-natal vitamins, cutting out caffeine and processed foods and ditching the hair dye. But a new study is saying that future fathers may also need to shape up before someone calls them "dad."

Researchers from a fertility clinic in India analyzed sperm samples from 1,285 men and published their findings in the medical journal, Andrologia. They found that obese men, those with a body mass index of 30 or higher, had lower sperm counts and greater sperm defects.
Scientists believe the extra fat may affect the ratio of estrogen and testosterone in an obese man’s body, thereby negatively influencing their ability to father a child.

The effects of obesity on conception have been previously documented for women, but the results of this study make it clear that future moms and dads should hit the treadmill before they try to push a stroller.

RELATED: Most obese cities in America 

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America's Most Obese Cities
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America's Most Obese Cities
We are heavier than ever. Once considered an affliction of the lazy and indulgent, obesity now affects about one-third of Americans.

To determine which cities were the most obese, Forbes looked at 2006 data on body mass index, or BMI, collected by the Centers for Disease Control's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Read About the Cities

Next: Memphis, Tenn.
Obesity rate: 34 percent

Among the causes researchers blame for obesity in Memphis: high rates of poverty and a culture of Southern hospitality and food that values certain types of dishes--many of them fried--over healthier choices.

More on Memphis

Next: Birmingham, Ala.
Obesity rate: 31.3 percent

As the second most obese city, 31.3 percent of Birmingham's residents have a BMI of 30 or higher. Since 2001, a local non-profit organization called Jones Valley Urban Farm has tried to promote healthy eating habits with community gardening plots.

More on Birmingham

Next: San Antonio, Texas
Obesity rate: 31.1 percent

Arguably the home base for calorie-rich Tex-Mex cuisine, this Texas city comes in a close third as the most obese. City officials, however, have taken note, and are exploring solutions.

More on San Antonio

Next: Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif.
Obesity rate: 30.8 percent

Despite efforts to promote safe streets and bicycle riding, the obesity epidemic is only getting worse: 30.8 percent percent of Riverside residents are obese, a 5 percent increase from 2005.

More on Riverside/San Bernardino

Next: Detroit
Obesity rate: 30.4 percent

Parts of this beleaguered city, where 33 percent of residents live below the poverty line, may qualify as a "food desert," a term used to describe urban areas devoid of healthy, fresh food choices. That may explain why 30.4 percent of its population, and that of the surrounding area, is obese.

More on Detroit
Next City: Jacksonville, Fla.
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