A tailored weight loss program has produced a benefit likely to be a powerful motivator for men – better erectile function.

Obese men SHED-IT

17 October 2013

An internationally-recognised University of Newcastle weight loss program tailored specifically for men has produced a benefit that is likely to be a powerful motivator to shed the excess kilos – improved erectile function.

SHED-ITThe low-cost SHED-ITTM (Self Help Exercise and Diet Using IT) program motivates men to lose weight using a range of resources including the internet, a DVD and printed materials, without requiring any face-to-face contact.

Currently 68 per cent of Australian men are overweight or obese and erectile dysfunction is associated with both risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and poorer quality of life in these men. Although one in five Australian men experience erectile dysfunction, only 30 per cent seek medical help.

Clare Collins 2Professor Clare Collins, Co-Director of the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, said the SHED-ITTM program was tailored for men and designed based on the physiology and psychology of blokes.

"The idea of SHED-ITTM is for men to learn that making positive changes to their daily food and exercise habits means they can still have a beer, and other things they enjoy, while getting their weight under control," Professor Collins said.

The randomised controlled trial studied 145 sexually active overweight/obese men. Erectile function was assessed using the validated International Index of Erectile Function-5 (IIEF-5) questionnaire which assesses factors such as confidence, frequency of experience and degree of difficulty.

"Erectile function was compared between men participating in the SHED-ITTM program and the control group. Both groups were assessed at the beginning of the study and three and six months later. The results showed that men participating in SHED-ITTM lost weight but also experienced an improvement in their erectile function. Even men without sexual dysfunction prior to SHED-ITTM, experienced some improvement in their erectile performance following weight loss.

"This outcome is likely to be a strong motivator for men who need to lose a few kilograms and has the potential to be used in strategies designed to engage men in weight loss attempts."

During 2013 National Nutrition Week (13-19 October) and World Food Day (16 October) the University of Newcastle is showcasing its global leaders in nutrition and dietetics research. The 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA), an independent assessment of research excellence, awarded nutrition and dietetics research at the University of Newcastle, a rating of 5 -  'well above world standard' - one of only three Australian universities to receive the top ERA rating. Meet more of our global leaders driving world class innovation.

Professor Collins will present 'Improvement in erectile function following weight loss in obese men: The SHED-ITTM randomised controlled trial (published in Obesity Research and Clinical Practice 2013), on Thursday 17 October at the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society annual conference.

* The SHED-ITTM team behind this study includes Professor Clare Collins, Professor Philip Morgan, Professor Ron Plotnikoff,Professor Robin Callister; Mr Myles Young and Dr Megan Jensen.

University of Newcastle health researchers work in collaboration with HMRI - a partnership with the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.

Contact: Carmen Swadling, Media and Public Relations
Contact Phone: +61 2 4985 4276 or 0428 038477.
Contact Email: Carmen.Swadling@newcastle.edu.au