Health bites

Want to be a dad? Wear boxers

Men who wear boxers may be more fertile than those who opt for jockeys and briefs, a new study suggests.

Among the male partners in couples seeking infertility treatment, researchers determined that tight-fitting underwear was linked to lower sperm counts and sperm concentration and higher levels of a hormone that can indicate trouble in the testicles, according to the report published in Human Reproduction.

The effect isn't huge, but, "if I were getting ready to start trying for a baby, I'd go shopping for boxers about three months ahead of time", said senior study author Dr Jorge Chavarro of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.

While sperm are continuously being produced, it takes about three months for them to mature, he said.

The reason briefs may impact sperm counts is that they keep the testes close to the body, he added. - REUTERS

Obese girls more likely depressed

Obese girls are 44 per cent more likely to develop depression during childhood and adolescence or to be diagnosed with it later than peers who weigh less, a research review suggests.

Just being overweight, rather than obese, however, didn't appear to influence the risk of depression for girls, and there wasn't any association between weight and depression in boys.

Globally, more than 40 million children are overweight or obese by the time they're five years old, according to the World Health Organization.

Depression is also a leading cause of reduced quality of life for children, impacting school performance, friendships and the risk of substance abuse and other risky behaviour, researchers note.

Parents should keep the risk of depression in mind when they try to encourage overweight children to achieve a healthy weight, said Prof Rebecca Puhl of the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut in Hartford. - REUTERS