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.

The low-cost SHED-IT (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.

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

“The idea of SHED-IT 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.

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