What’s worse, they are also contributing to declining sperm counts.

Both men and women produce the hormone estrogen, however it is far more abundant in women’s bodies. Having excess estrogen in the body can promote weight gain by impairing thyroid function. Women with excess estrogen are most likely to gain weight on their hips, thighs and buttocks.

Men can develop excessively high estrogen levels, and this can cause an inability to lose weight. Fat cells in obese men convert testosterone (male hormone) into estrogen (female hormone). Estrogen is also present in the environment, and exposure to chemicals plays a significant role in the hormone levels of overweight men. It may also impair a man’s fertility by interfering with sperm production.

Estrogen is abundant in the environment because many chemicals and plastics have estrogen-like effects in the body. For this reason they are called xeno-estrogens. These estrogens are found in plastic water bottles and food containers; plastic wrap, drainpipes, toiletries, pesticides and insecticides.

Obviously obesity can be caused by a number of factors and we shouldn’t forget the central role of diet and activity level. However, for some individuals, hormone imbalance plays a significant role.