The purpose of this study was to determine whether pre- to postoperative increases in physical activity (PA) are associated with weight loss and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) following bariatric surgery. Participants were 199 Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery patients. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used to categorize participants into three groups according to their preoperative and /1-year postoperative PA level: (i) Inactive/Active (<200-min/week/>or=200-min/week), (ii) Active/Active (>or=200-min/week/>or=200-min/week) and (iii) Inactive/Inactive (<200-min/week/<200-min/week). The Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) was used to assess HRQoL. Analyses of covariance were conducted to examine the effects of PA group on weight and HRQoL changes. Inactive/Active participants, compared with Inactive/Inactive individuals, had greater reductions in weight (52.5 +/- 15.4 vs. 46.4 +/- 12.8 kg) and BMI (18.9 +/- 4.6 vs. 16.9 +/- 4.2 kg/m(2)). Weight loss outcomes in the Inactive/Active and Active/Active groups were similar to each other. Inactive/Active and Active/Active participants reported greater improvements than Inactive/Inactive participants on the mental component summary (MCS) score and the general health, vitality and mental health domains (P < 0.01). Although the direction of causation is not clear, these findings suggest that RYGB patients who become active postoperatively achieve weight losses and HRQoL improvements that are greater than those experienced by patients who remain inactive and comparable to those attained by patients who stay active. Future randomized controlled trials should examine whether assisting patients who are inactive preoperatively to increase their PA postoperatively contributes to optimization of weight loss and HRQoL outcomes.