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Changes in Bariatric Patients’ Physical Activity Levels and Health-Related Quality of Life Following a Postoperative Motivational Physical Activity Intervention



Self-determination theory (SDT) has been widely used as a useful motivational framework for improving long-term adherence to physical activity (PA) and health-related quality of life (HRQoL). The aim of this study was to examine the effects of a 6-month motivational PA intervention (MPAI) on bariatric patients’ PA levels and HRQoL from pre-surgery to the end of the MPAI (7 months post-surgery). Additionally, a re-test was performed 13 months post-surgery.


A total of 40 participants undergoing sleeve gastrectomy were assigned to a 6-month MPAI or to a control group. The MPAI was based on techniques and messages from SDT. At baseline and post-intervention measures, both groups wore accelerometers for one week and completed the SF-36 questionnaire.


A total of 32 participants (78.1% female) completed all measures and were included in the final analyses. PA levels did not significantly differ between groups as a consequence of the intervention. Clinically significant differences (d ≥ 0.5) favoring the MPAI group were found for SF-36 domains of bodily pain (at pre-surgery, increasing at 7 and 13 months post-surgery), general health and vitality (7 months post-surgery), and physical functioning and physical component score (both 7 and 13 months post-surgery). Social functioning also showed clinically significant differences favoring the MPAI group at pre-surgery, increasing at 7 months post-surgery. These differences disappeared at 13 months post-surgery.


SDT-based PA interventions could enhance several dimensions of bariatric patients’ HRQoL after surgery. Further research is needed to understand what motivational processes are key aspects to promote PA participation in these patients.

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The authors would like to thank all the patients involved in the study. We would also like to thank the exercise instructors for their efforts and professionalism during the physical activity program and for their caring attitude toward the patients during the training sessions.


This study was carried out with the aid of the following research projects: the “Physical and psychological effects of an exercise program in bariatric patients” (UEM2.11X), funded by the Escuela de Estudios Universitarios Real Madrid-Universidad Europea de Madrid and the “Physiological and psychological effects of a physical activity program on bariatric patients,” funded by the Fundación MAPFRE. Alejandro Jiménez-Loaisa was supported by the Valencian Council of Education, Research, Culture and Sports with reference ACIF/2017/155. Manuel Alcaraz-Ibáñez was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Education through an FPU grant with reference FPU17/01158.

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Correspondence to David González-Cutre.

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Jiménez-Loaisa, A., González-Cutre, D., Beltrán-Carrillo, V.J. et al. Changes in Bariatric Patients’ Physical Activity Levels and Health-Related Quality of Life Following a Postoperative Motivational Physical Activity Intervention. OBES SURG 30, 2302–2312 (2020).

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  • Self-determination theory
  • Sleeve gastrectomy
  • Exercise
  • Accelerometry
  • SF-36 questionnaire