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Leicester study seeks to understand ongoing impacts of exercise after weight loss surgery

To mark World Obesity Day (4th March), the NIHR Leicester BRC shines a light on its study exploring the impact of exercise after weight loss surgery.

“I hope what they learn in this study will benefit people like me, who are committed to managing their weight after bariatric surgery.” 

These are the words of Jennifer, who took part in the NIHR Leicester BRC BariEx study at the Leicester Diabetes Centre recently. The study aims to enhance our understanding of the impact of exercise on blood sugar levels in people that have undergone bariatric surgery.

Jennifer had weight loss surgery (metabolic bariatric surgery) in 2012, which helped her lose almost 10 stone; taking her from 19 down to 9 and a half stone.

“Weight management doesn’t end after surgery. I know this first hand.  I am now around 12 stone. I still go to a weight loss group regularly to get support and talk to others.” Jennifer added.

“But, it would be great if there was some really specific health advice for people who have had weight loss surgery. That’s why I took part in BariEx – to help researchers find out more about what happens after exercise in people like me.”

As part of the study, Jennifer visited the Leicester Diabetes Centre at Leicester General Hospital twice to look at the effect of a 30-minute walk on her blood sugar levels. 

John, 75, was invited to take part in BariEx after he had a gastric bypass as a means to help with his acid reflux. He decided to take part in the study to help further development of treatment for people who have had metabolic bariatric surgery for weight loss purposes and to improve overall health.

He explains: “The trial has been easy to follow, and I have been well looked after throughout. The staff involved have always been very courteous and caring and explained in full what was going to happen. I would not hesitate to advise anyone considering taking part in the studies to participate.

“I think the use of these trials is very important to further the progress the advances in medicine and science.”

Dr Louisa Herring, the principal investigator on the study, said: “We’re so grateful to Jennifer, John, and our other participants, for taking part in the BariEx study.  We really hope that what we learn about the impact of exercise on  participants blood sugar levels will allow us to give really practical advice to people  after metabolic bariatric surgery in the future, helping to avoid low blood sugar levels, to optimise quality of life and body weight maintenance.”

Background to BariEX

Research suggests that aerobic exercise after bariatric surgery (in people without type 2 diabetes) increases the body’s effectiveness to use the sugar in the blood (insulin sensitivity).

Increased insulin sensitivity can cause episodes of low blood glucose levels in individuals post-bariatric surgery especially after eating and is sometimes common when undertaking daily lifestyle activities. This can contribute to a reduction in quality of life and contribute to recurrent weight regain.

There is currently no evidence based physical activity guidelines for people after metabolic bariatric surgery,  however recommendations suggest individuals should undertake 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day.

The BariEx study is investigating how a 30 minute bout of exercise affects blood sugar levels in people at least 12 months after metabolic bariatric surgery.

To find out more about the BariEx study, visit:

Image © World Obesity