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Obes Surg. 2011 Aug;21(8):1243-9. doi: 10.1007/s11695-010-0327-4.

Physical activity and physical function in individuals post-bariatric surgery.

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Department of Physical Therapy, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.



A better understanding of the physical activity behavior of individuals who undergo bariatric surgery will enable the development of effective post-surgical exercise guidelines and interventions to enhance weight loss outcomes. This study characterized the physical activity profile and physical function of 40 subjects 2-5 years post-bariatric surgery and examined the association between physical activity, physical function, and weight loss after surgery.


Moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was assessed with the BodyMedia SenseWear® Pro (SWPro) armband, and physical function (PF) was measured using the physical function subscale of the 36-Item Short Form Health Survey instrument (SF-36(PF)). Height and weight were measured.


Percent of excess weight loss (%EWL) was associated with MVPA (r = 0.44, p = 0.01) and PF (r = 0.38, p = 0.02); MVPA was not associated with PF (r = 0.24, p = 0.14). Regression analysis demonstrated that MVPA was associated with %EWL (β = 0.38, t = 2.43, p = 0.02). Subjects who participated in ≥150 min/week of MVPA had a greater %EWL (68.2 ± 19, p = 0.01) than those who participated in <150 min/week (52.5 ± 17.4).


Results suggest that subjects are capable of performing most mobility activities. However, the lack of an association between PF and MVPA suggests that a higher level of PF does not necessarily correspond to a higher level of MVPA participation. Thus, the barriers to adoption of a more physically active lifestyle may not be fully explained by the subjects' physical limitations. Further understanding of this relationship is needed for the development of post-surgical weight loss guidelines and interventions.

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