Prevalence of obesity in childhood has increased over the past few decades. The impact of obesity and of obesity-related metabolic disorders on testicular growth is unknown.
To evaluate the impact of obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and insulin resistance on testicular volume (TV) in pre-pubertal (<9 years), peri-pubertal (9-14 years), and post-pubertal (14-16 years) periods.
We collected data on TV, age, standard deviation score (SDS) of the body mass index (BMI), insulin, and fasting glycemia in 268 children and adolescents followed-up for weight control.
Peri-pubertal boys with normal weight had a significantly higher TV compared to those with overweight or obesity. No difference was found in the other age ranges when data were grouped according to BMI. Pre- and post-pubertal children/adolescents with normal insulin levels had significantly higher TV compared to those with hyperinsulinemia. Peri-pubertal boys with hyperinsulinemia had significantly higher TV compared to those with normal insulin levels. Post-pubertal adolescents with insulin resistance had lower TV and peri-pubertal boys had higher TV compared to those without insulin resistance. No difference was found in pre-puberty.
Closer control of the body weight and the associated metabolic alterations in childhood and adolescence may maintain testicular function later in life
Although the prevalence of childhood obesity is increasing worldwide, the impact of obesity and associated metabolic disorders on testicular growth is unknown. We report here data on testicular volume (TV) in 268 children and adolescents, 206 of whom were overweight or obese and 62 normal-weight controls. In this study, we found that being overweight or obese was associated with a lower peri-pubertal TV. In addition, obesity-related comorbidities, such as hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, have been found to influence TV in pre- and post-puberty. Therefore, more careful control of body weight in childhood could represent a prevention strategy for maintaining testicular function later in life.