Risk of metabolic disorders in childless men: A population-based cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective To study whether male childlessness is associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders such as metabolic syndrome (MetS) and diabetes. Design A population-based cohort study. Setting Not applicable. Participants 2572 men from the population-based Malmö Diet and Cancer Cardiovascular Cohort. Interventions None. Main outcome measures From cross-sectional analyses, main outcome measures were ORs and 95% CIs for MetS and diabetes among childless men. In prospective analyses, HRs and 95% CI for diabetes among childless men. Results At baseline, in men with a mean age of 57 years, the prevalence of MetS was 26% and 22% among childless men and fathers, respectively. Similarly, we observed a higher prevalence of diabetes of 11% among childless men compared with 5% among fathers. In the cross-sectional adjusted analyses, childless men had a higher risk of MetS and diabetes, with ORs of 1.22 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.72) and 2.12 (95% CI 1.34 to 3.36) compared with fathers. In the prospective analysis, during a mean follow-up of 18.3 years, we did not see any increase in diabetes risk among childless men (HR 1.02 (0.76 to 1.37)). Conclusion This study provides evidence of an association between male childlessness and a higher risk of MetS and diabetes. However, as these associations were found in cross-sectional analyses, reverse causation cannot be excluded.


External organisations
  • Bispebjerg Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • childlessness, diabetes, infertility, metabolic syndrome, register-based cohort study
Original languageEnglish
Article number020293
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug 1
Publication categoryResearch