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Obes Surg. 2010 May;20(5):657-65. doi: 10.1007/s11695-010-0096-0. Epub 2010 Feb 24.

Exercise following bariatric surgery: systematic review.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 10833 LeConte Ave, 72-215 CHS, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


The contribution of physical activity on the degree of weight loss following bariatric surgery is unclear. To determine impact of exercise on postoperative weight loss. Medline search (1988-2009) was completed using MeSH terms including bariatric procedures and a spectrum of patient factors with potential relationship to weight loss outcomes. Of the 934 screened articles, 14 reported on exercise and weight loss outcomes. The most commonly used instruments to measure activity level were the Baecke Physical Activity Questionnaire, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and a variety of self-made questionnaires. The definition of an active patient varied but generally required a minimum of 30 min of exercise at least 3 days per week. Thirteen articles reported on exercise and degree of postoperative weight loss (n = 4,108 patients). Eleven articles found a positive association of exercise on postoperative weight loss, and two did not. Meta-analysis of three studies revealed a significant increase in 1-year postoperative weight loss (mean difference = 4.2% total body mass index (BMI) loss, 95% confidence interval (CI; 0.26-8.11)) for patients who exercise postoperatively. Exercise following bariatric surgery appears to be associated with a greater weight loss of over 4% of BMI. While a causal relationship cannot be established with observational data, this finding supports the continued efforts to encourage and support patients' involvement in post-surgery exercise. Further research is necessary to determine the recommended activity guidelines for this patient population.

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