"It has its origins in earlier research, which showed that type II diabetes and obesity in older men are linked to a high rate (25-33%) of hypogonadism, or low testosterone levels. According to the new study, the rate of hypogonadism in type II diabetic men ages 18-35 is greater than 50%.
In addition, concentrations of free testosterone — testosterone that isn't chemically bound and thus available to the body — were shown to be negatively related to BMI: The higher the body mass, the lower the concentration.
"This raises the question whether obesity is associated with lower testosterone concentrations, even in younger males," the study said.
Controlling for age, physical maturity and certain medical factors, 25 obese and 25 lean males between the ages of 14 and 20 were studied.
Blood samples were drawn in the morning to measure both total and free testosterone.
Mean testosterone concentration was 50% lower in obese males. Mean free testosterone concentration was 46% lower.
The results present several problems for those affected, according to Dr. Paresh Dandona, chief of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Buffalo's medical school and the study's lead author.
Obesity can lead to diabetes and heart disease. What's more, low testosterone can slow or stop sexual maturation — and there's nothing more hurtful than "a male not having his maleness," Dandona said."
Image: Obese boy, via Shutterstock