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Study Links Fat and Infertility

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SAN ANTONIO, Oct 16, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The reason overweight men have reduced fertility is because the DNA in their sperm breaks up, suggests a new U.S. study.

The research by Reproductive Biology Associates of Atlanta is the first to examine the impact of body weight on the quality of the DNA structure in sperm, reported Thursday.

The group compared men's body mass index with the integrity of a protein called chromatin, which is crucial to the structure of DNA.

"As BMI goes up, the DNA fragmentation rate goes up, and we could see a dramatic reduction of sperm quality," said William Roudebush of the Atlanta research team.

Fragmentation rose as BMI's passed 25, defined as overweight, and became acute over 30, defined as obese.

Most Americans, 61 percent, have a BMI above 25, prompting Roudebush to suggest rising obesity levels in the western world may be partly responsible for the decline in male fertility.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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