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A Survey of Obesity and Erectile Dysfunction of Men Conscripted into the Military in Taiwan


Yen-Chin Lin, PhD, Graduate School of Human Sexuality, Shu-Te University, No.59, Hengshan Road, Yanchao, Kaohsiung County 82445, Taiwan. Tel: 886-3-8883141 Ext 447; Fax: 886-3-8881103; E-mail:


Introduction.  Obesity is receiving growing research attention. However, investigations concerning the potential impact of obesity and testosterone on erectile dysfunction (ED) in young men have not been completely clarified.

Aim.  To identify the relationship between ED, serum testosterone level, and obesity in draftees in Taiwan.

Methods.  Data were obtained from a baseline survey of 364 young adult military conscripts (19–24 years old). Their demographic data, body mass index (BMI), serum testosterone, and ED status were assessed. Sixty-four subjects had ED, and 300 comprised the normal control group.

Main Outcome Measures.  The International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5), Sexual Desire Inventory, and Sexual Behavior Scale were used to assess ED, sexual desire, and sexual function.

Results.  Three hundred sixty-four men were available for analysis. The mean age of the sample was 21.66 ± 0.92 years (19–24 years). The IIEF total score had a mean of 21.99 ± 2.34 and median of 23; 64 (17.6%) subjects had ED, although mild. The results showed an increased risk of ED among obese men and subjects with lower serum testosterone. Among the predictors of ED, obesity (odds ratio = 83.97, 95% CI = 16.17–436.03, degrees of freedom [d.f.] = 1, P < 0.001) and lower serum testosterone (odds ratio = 679.84, 95% CI = 108.48–4,260.58, d.f. = 1, P < 0.001) were significantly independent factors. Testosterone levels were lower in subjects with obesity (P < 0.001).

Conclusion.  This study supports the idea that BMI and serum testosterone may provide warning signs of ED and, at the same time, an opportunity for early intervention in young men. Chao J-K, Hwang TI-S, Ma M-C, Kuo W-H, Liu J-H, Chen Y-P, and Lin Y-C. A survey of obesity and erectile dysfunction of men conscripted into the military in Taiwan. J Sex Med 2011;8:1156–1163.