Exercise Testing Reveals Everyday Physical Challenges of Bariatric Surgery Candidates

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Few studies have quantified cardiorespiratory fitness among individuals seeking bariatric surgery. Treadmill testing allows researchers to determine exercise capacity through metabolic equivalents. These findings can assist clinicians in understanding patients’ capabilities to carry out various activities of daily living. The purpose of this study was to determine exercise tolerance and the variables associated with fitness, among individuals seeking bariatric surgery. Methods: Bariatric surgery candidates completed submaximal treadmill testing and provided ratings of perceived exertion. Each participant also completed questionnaires related to history of exercise, mood, and perceived barriers/benefits of exercise. Results: Over half of participants reported that exercise was “hard to very hard” before reaching 70% of heart rate reserve, and one-third of participants reported that exercise was “moderately hard” at less than 3 metabolic equivalents (light activity). Body mass index and age accounted for the majority of the variance in exercise tolerance, but athletic history, employment status, and perceived health benefits also contributed. Perceived benefit scores were higher than barrier scores. Conclusion: Categories commonly used to describe moderate-intensity exercise (3–6 metabolic equivalents) do not coincide with perceptions of intensity among many bariatric surgery candidates, especially those with a body mass index of 50 or more.

Creel, Schuh, Stote, and Cacucci are with the St. Vincent Carmel Hospital, Bariatric Center, Carmel, IN. Newton is with the Physical Activity and Ethnic Minority Health Laboratory, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.

Creel (dbcreel@stvincent.org) is corresponding author.
Journal of Physical Activity and Health

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