Do factors related to participation in physical activity change following restrictive bariatric surgery? A qualitative study

Juliana Gomes Zabatiero, Anne Smith, Kylie Hill, Jeffrey Mark Hamdorf, Susan F. Taylor, Martin S. Hagger, Daniel F. Gucciardi

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23 Citations (Scopus)


To explore participants’ ability to participate in physical activity (PA), and barriers and facilitators to PA, at 12 months following restrictive bariatric surgery, and how these differed from participants’ pre-surgery perceptions. Motivators for PA post-surgery were also explored.
Qualitative one-on-one in-depth interviews were conducted pre- and 12 months post-surgery. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
Fourteen adults (12 females), with a mean (range) age of 41.4 years (25.0–56.0), body mass index (BMI) of 31.7 kg/m2 (22.3–48.2), and excess weight loss of 66% (2–127) completed both interviews. Lack of participation in PA during the first 3–6 months post-surgery was a common theme. Although participants reported increased ability to participate in PA, attributing this to a reduction in obesity-related physical barriers to PA, many participants reported that some pre-surgery obesity-related barriers to PA remained at 12 months post-surgery. For most participants, pre-surgery non-obesity related barriers to PA also remained at 12 months post-surgery. Facilitators to PA were consistent pre- and post-surgery. Weight loss and improvement in physical appearance were the most common motivators for PA post-surgery.
At 12 months following surgery, many participants reported residual obesity and non-obesity related barriers to PA. These barriers may explain the small, if any, pre- to post-surgery change in PA levels reported by earlier research. Facilitators to PA did not change and post-surgery motivators for PA were mostly esteem-related. These data are relevant to shape interventions aimed at optimising PA in this population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-316
Number of pages10
JournalObesity Research & Clinical Practice
Issue number3
Early online date14 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


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