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28 June 2004
Diet & Exercise A Better Option For Erectile Dysfunction
by George Atkinson

Obese men with erectile dysfunction may be able to improve their sexual function with exercise and weight loss, according to a study appearing in The Journal of the American Medical Association. Erectile dysfunction is a leading cause of decreased quality of life in men and may affect as many as 30 million men in the U.S. In a previous study, moderate-to-severe erectile dysfunction was reported by 12 percent of men younger than 59 years; 22 percent of men aged 60 to 69 years; and 30 percent of men older than 69 years.

Katherine Esposito, of the Center for Obesity Management in Naples, Italy, and colleagues conducted a study to determine if lifestyle changes designed to obtain a sustained and long-term reduction in body weight and an increase in physical activity would improve erectile function in obese men.

The men involved in the study received detailed advice about how to achieve a loss of 10 percent or more in their total body weight by reducing caloric intake and increasing their level of physical activity.

The researchers said, "Our data demonstrate that lifestyle changes, including a reduced calorie diet and increased exercise, improve erectile function in obese men and resulted in about one-third of men with erectile dysfunction regaining sexual function after treatment. This improvement was associated with amelioration of both endothelial function and markers of systemic vascular inflammation. Interventions focused on modifiable health behaviors may represent a safe strategy to improve erectile function and reduce cardiovascular risk in obese patients."

Christopher S. Saigal of the University of California echoed the researchers views, "At a time in which obesity has become a public health crisis, this study provides evidence of efficacy for what perhaps should be the first-line treatment for obese patients with erectile dysfunction. This treatment strategy produces many benefits for the patient if it is successful and incurs no untoward risk if it is not. Unfortunately, however, this is one treatment for erectile dysfunction that will not be accompanied by free pens, free notepads, and its own Super Bowl commercial."

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