Is Sedentary Lifestyle Associated With Testicular Function? A Cross-Sectional Study of 1,210 Men

Am J Epidemiol. 2016 Aug 15;184(4):284-94. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv338. Epub 2016 Aug 8.


Based on cross-sectional data on 1,210 healthy young Danish men, we investigated whether sedentary lifestyle was associated with testicular function (semen quality and reproductive hormones) independent of physical activity. The men were invited to participate in the study between 2008 and 2012, when they attended a compulsory medical examination to determine their fitness for military service. Information on sedentary behavior (television watching and computer time) and physical activity was obtained by questionnaire. The men had a physical examination, delivered a semen sample, and had a blood sample drawn. Time spent watching television, but not time sitting in front of a computer, was associated with lower sperm counts. Men who watched television more than 5 hours/day had an adjusted sperm concentration of 37 million/mL (95% confidence interval (CI): 30, 44) versus 52 million/mL (95% CI: 43, 62) among men who did not watch television; total sperm counts in those 2 groups were 104 million (95% CI: 84, 126) and 158 million (95% CI: 130, 189), respectively. Furthermore, an increase in follicle-stimulating hormone and decreases in testosterone and the testosterone/luteinizing hormone ratio were detected in men watching many hours of television. Self-rated physical fitness, but not time spent on physical activity, was positively associated with sperm counts.

Keywords: cross-sectional studies; male reproductive health; normal men; physical activity; reproductive hormones; sedentary lifestyle; semen quality.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Physical Fitness / physiology
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Semen Analysis
  • Sperm Count*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone