Could a rural lifestyle decrease the prevalence of erectile dysfunction?


Joaquim de Almeida Claro, Division of Urology, Federal University of São Paulo, Paulista School of Medicine, Brazil. e-mail:



To determine the prevalence of erectile dysfunction (ED) in a specific population and explore potential correlates with lifestyle.


This prospective observational study, covering a population of a very small rural town, included 2000 men aged ≥ 20 years from a total population of 121 831 (51% female and 49% male). The International Index of Erectile Function was completed by each of the 2000 men at their homes over a 1-year period. Another questionnaire assessing socio-economic status and health-related determinants of ED were also completed.


All 2000 men completed the questionnaires; overall, only 34 reported ED (1.7%). The frequency of mild, mild to moderate, moderate and severe ED was 12%, 29%, 20% and 38%, respectively. Significantly more men aged > 51 years had ED than those aged <41 years (0.05% and 0.45%, respectively; P < 0.001). There was no difference in ED with salary levels.


The prevalence of ED in this particular rural population of Brazil was very low, at only 1.7%. Although ED increases with age, this association was not apparent for all age groups. It seems that several others factors, e.g. lifestyle, culture and diet, could be important for the onset of ED.