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11.10.2019 | Original Contributions

Physical Activity Patterns Among Individuals Before and Soon After Bariatric Surgery

Obesity Surgery
Kristen A. Ouellette, Jacob G. Mabey, Patricia A. Eisenman, Janet M. Shaw, Tim A. Brusseau, Disa L. Hatfield, Candus N. Ford, Lance E. Davidson
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Post-operative changes in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) may contribute to improved weight loss and long-term weight maintenance of individuals after bariatric surgery. Patients experience minimal changes in MVPA > 6 months after surgery, but no studies have investigated early changes in physical activity after surgery. This study aims to assess MVPA changes during the rapid weight loss phase through self-reporting and objective measures.


Physical activity patterns were assessed as minutes per day spent doing MVPA. A walking cadence of ≥ 100 steps per minute defined MVPA. Individuals completing gastric bypass (N = 7) and sleeve gastrectomy (N = 17) procedures (21 females, 3 males, age 42.2 ± 12.6 years, body mass 121.8 ± 24.8 kg, BMI 44.0 ± 6.5) completed office visits at 12 ± 6 days pre- and 35 ± 10 days post-operative. Each wore an ActiGraph GT3X tri-axial accelerometer at the hip for 7 days before and again for 7 days 30.6 ± 10 days after surgery. Assessments also included a subjective question about their anticipated and perceived post-operative MVPA (scale of − 3 to 3 with 3 being much more physically active and − 3 being much less).


Participants did not change their minutes per day of MVPA significantly (pre-operative 1.5 ± 2.1; post-operative 2.6 ± 5.6, NS). Participants predicted their post-operative physical activity level would increase (2.8 ± 0.4). The self-reported activity level on the same scale after surgery was significantly less than predicted (1.9 ± 1.0, p < 0.05) but still suggested that participants thought they were more physically active.


Consistent with reports > 6 months after surgery, MVPA did not increase in the early post-operative period, despite patient expectations. The early post-operative period may be a time for behavioral intervention.

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