Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology

Obesity and reproductive disorders: a review

R. J. Norman and A. M. Clark

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 10(1) 55 - 63
Published: 1998


Obesity has significant consequences for the reproductive system, depending upon the amount and distribution of body fat. Epidemiological evidence clearly shows that being overweight contributes to menstrual disorders, infertility, miscarriage, poor pregnancy outcome, impaired fetal well-being and diabetes mellitus. Central adiposity is particularly important in clinical sequelae associated with an increased body mass index. The advent of assisted reproduction highlights the problems of being overweight, and the use of gonadotrophins in ovulation induction and in vitro fertilization is more difficult when the subject is overweight. Weight loss has marked effects on improving the menstrual cycle and promoting spontaneous ovulation and fertility. Results indicate that fertility is improved through exercise and sensible eating patterns when conducted in a group environment. The mechanisms for this are unclear but may be associated with changes in sensitivity to insulin.

© CSIRO 1998

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