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Forget global warming: We're getting too lazy to reproduce

February 05, 2013|By Paul Whitefield
  • A new study reports low sperm count among young men who watch a lot of television and who seldom exercise.
A new study reports low sperm count among young men who watch a lot of television… (Gary Baseman )

Sometimes, headlines alone can tell a story.

Start with this one from The Times: “Baby boomers may live longer, but their elders were healthier.”

And while you’re pondering that, check this one out: “Sperm count low among couch potatoes, study finds.”

And finally, there’s this, well, punch-line headline: “Gov. Christie eats doughnut with Letterman; talks Sandy storm aid.”

Yes, boys and girls and boomers, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

Of course, I’m not talking about you, specifically. You may be a bit heavy, but it’s nothing to worry about, right? Which makes you a likely voter for New Jersey’s round mound of governor. As The Times story explained: “Christie has said he is not bothered by jokes about his weight and maintains he is in good health with cholesterol and blood sugar numbers under control.”

Which is a bit like the captain of the Titanic saying that the flooding is under control.

The truth about our health and lifestyles, alas, is more sobering.

For example, researchers from the West Virginia University School of Medicine and the Medical University of South Carolina compared data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; they measured baby boomers (average age 54.1 when they took the survey between 2007 and 2010) and their elders (average age: 54.5 when they took the survey between the 1988 and 1994). Here’s what they found:

Only 13.2% of boomers rated their own health as “excellent,” compared with 32% of those in the older group. Boomers were more likely to have high blood pressure (43% vs. 36.4%), high cholesterol (73.5% vs. 33.8%) and diabetes (15.5% vs. 12%). A full 38.7% of boomers surveyed were obese, compared with 29.4% of their elders.

How’s that Krispy Kreme taste now, Governor?

Then there's the news about low sperm counts (although that may not directly affect boomers, unless we’re talking Hugh Hefner). Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, in a study published Monday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, “found that men who watched more than 20 hours of television a week had 44% lower sperm count than men who watched almost no television.”

And for you doubting Christies (Wait, what the heck: Doesn’t he have four kids?), they also found that “men who engaged in moderate to vigorous exercise for 15 or more hours a week had 73% higher sperm count than men who exercised less than five hours per week.”

But let’s look on the bright side -- the test tube half full, if you will: This is just nature’s way of culling the herd. Fat parents beget fat kids, but if fat folks can’t become parents -- voila, fewer fat kids.

Although, gentlemen, fat or not, you might want to keep those condoms handy.

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