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Exercise intervention effective against weight regain postbariatric surgery

02 Jul 2017

Implementation of a supervised exercise intervention for 12 weeks effectively improves body composition and functional walking ability in patients who have undergone bariatric surgery, and further improvements may be observed at the 24-week follow-up, according to a study.

Researchers randomly assigned 24 physically inactive adult bariatric surgery patients whose body mass index remained ≥30 kg/m2 12 to 24 months postsurgery to either the group receiving exercise intervention (n=12) or control group (n=12). The 12-week supervised exercise intervention involved three 60-minute gym sessions/week of moderate intensity aerobic and resistance training. On the other hand, the control group received usual care.

Functional walking performance was evaluated using the incremental shuttle walk test (ISWT) after the 12-week exercise intervention and at 24 weeks of follow-up. Other assessments included anthropometric measures, physical activity, and cardiovascular and psychological outcomes.

Compared with the control group, the exercise group showed significant improvements in the ISWT (325.00 vs 355.00 m; p<0.001), body composition, physical function, and cardiovascular and self-efficacy measures at week 12.

At 24 weeks, overall mean improvement in distance walked was 143.3 m in the exercise group vs a reduction of −32.50 m in the control group. There also was a 5.6-kg difference observed in body mass change from baseline to 24 weeks between the two groups, in favour of the exercise group.

An effective weight-loss intervention for morbidly obese patients, bariatric surgery has a well-known success in the treatment of stage II and III obesity and related diseases. However, there is increasing evidence of weight regain generally occurring between 12 and 24 months after the surgery. Weight regain has detrimental effects, including the increased risk of physical function decline and greater likelihood of obesity-related comorbidities returning. [Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2009;15:1–24; J Am Med Assoc 2013;310:2416–2425; Obes Surg 2008;18:648–651; Obes Rev 2015;16:248–258]

The present data suggest that a 12-week exercise intervention at the typical point of weight regain effectively improves physical function and body composition in adult bariatric surgery patients.

“However, as physical activity declined after the end of the supervised intervention, patients may need on-going support to develop independence to sustain these improvements long term,” researchers said.

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