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Surg Obes Relat Dis. 2015 Jan-Feb;11(1):169-77. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2014.07.010. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Bari-Active: a randomized controlled trial of a preoperative intervention to increase physical activity in bariatric surgery patients.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University/The Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Providence, Rhode Island. Electronic address:
  • 2Department of Surgery, Alpert Medical School of Brown University/The Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Alpert Medical School of Brown University/The Miriam Hospital Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, Providence, Rhode Island.
  • 4Department of Physical Activity and Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 5Department of Surgery, Roger Williams Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island.
  • 6Department of Surgery, Cedars-Sinai Medicine, Los Angeles, California.



Habitual physical activity (PA) may help to optimize bariatric surgery outcomes; however, objective PA measures show that most patients have low PA preoperatively and make only modest PA changes postoperatively. Patients require additional support to adopt habitual PA. The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of a preoperative PA intervention (PAI) versus standard presurgical care (SC) for increasing daily moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) in bariatric surgery patients.


Outcomes analysis included 75 participants (86.7% women; 46.0±8.9 years; body mass index [BMI]=45.0±6.5 kg/m2) who were randomly assigned preoperatively to 6 weeks of PAI (n=40) or SC (n=35). PAI received weekly individual face-to-face sessions with tailored instruction in behavioral strategies (e.g., self-monitoring, goal-setting) to increase home-based walking exercise. The primary outcome, pre- to postintervention change in daily bout-related (≥10 min bouts) and total (≥1 min bouts) MVPA minutes, was assessed objectively via a multisensor monitor worn for 7 days at baseline- and postintervention.


Retention was 84% at the postintervention primary endpoint. In intent-to-treat analyses with baseline value carried forward for missing data and adjusted for baseline MVPA, PAI achieved a mean increase of 16.6±20.6 min/d in bout-related MVPA (baseline: 4.4±5.5 to postintervention: 21.0±21.4 min/d) compared to no change (-0.3±12.7 min/d; baseline: 7.9±16.6 to postintervention: 7.6±11.5 min/d) for SC (P=.001). Similarly, PAI achieved a mean increase of 21.0±26.9 min/d in total MVPA (baseline: 30.9±21.2 to postintervention: 51.9±30.0 min/d), whereas SC demonstrated no change (-0.1±16.3 min/d; baseline: 33.7±33.2 to postintervention: 33.6±28.5 minutes/d) (P=.001).


With behavioral intervention, patients can significantly increase MVPA before bariatric surgery compared to SC. Future studies should determine whether preoperative increases in PA can be maintained postoperatively and contribute to improved surgical outcomes.



Bariatric; Behavior; Intervention; Objective measurement; Physical activity; Randomized controlled trial; Severe obesity

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