Impact of Excess Skin from Massive Weight Loss on the Practice of Physical Activity in Women



Over 70 % of people who undergo bariatric surgery (BS) develop excess skin (ES). The physical and psychosocial consequences of ES may become a barrier to the practice of physical activity (PA), which is highly recommended to optimize the results of BS. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of ES on the practice of PA in women who have undergone BS.


Questionnaires administered to 26 women having undergone BS 2 ± 0.2 years before (BMI = 29.1 ± 0.8 kg/m2) evaluated the impacts of ES, the practice of PA, physical self-perception, and physical exercise beliefs. We also used the 6-min walking test and muscular endurance tests to evaluate physical fitness and photographs with anatomical markers to quantify ES.


Of the women, 76.9 % declared mobility limitations due to ES during the practice of PA and 45.2 % stated avoiding PA because of ES which caused flapping and unwelcome stares from others. The women who stated that they avoided PA because of ES had significantly lower physical self-perception and physical fitness and reported experiencing more embarrassment during PA despite no significant difference in the magnitude of ES (p = 0.06), BMI, daily life inconveniences, and energy expenditure compared to those women who did not avoid PA.


Although ES after BS is a barrier to the practice of PA for some women, it does not in itself prevent the regular practice of PA. The main reason women with ES avoid PA seems to have less to do with the magnitude of ES itself and more with psychosocial inconveniences.

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The investigators thank Gabrielle Rouleau, a kinesiology B.Sc. student at the Université de Sherbrooke (Canada), for her contribution to data collection and Monique Sullivan for her editorial point of view. Aurelie Baillot is the recipient of a scholarship from the Department of Medicine at Université de Sherbrooke. Marie-France Langlois is the recipient of a National Researcher Scholar Award from the Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQ-S). The Étienne-LeBel Clinical Research Center is an FRQ-S-funded research center.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to M.-F. Langlois.

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Clinical no. NCT01527851

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Baillot, A., Asselin, M., Comeau, E. et al. Impact of Excess Skin from Massive Weight Loss on the Practice of Physical Activity in Women. OBES SURG 23, 1826–1834 (2013).

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  • Obesity
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Exercise
  • Self-concept