The Effect of an Exercise Intervention Program on Bone Health After Bariatric Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

J Bone Miner Res. 2021 Mar;36(3):489-499. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.4213. Epub 2020 Dec 9.


Exercise has been suggested as a therapeutic approach to attenuate bone loss induced by bariatric surgery (BS), but its effectiveness remains unclear. Our aim was to determine if an exercise-training program could induce benefits on bone mass after BS. Eighty-four patients, submitted to gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy, were randomized to either exercise (EG) or control group (CG). One month post-BS, EG underwent a 11-month supervised multicomponent exercise program, while CG received only standard medical care. Patients were assessed before BS and at 1, 6, and 12 months post-BS for body composition, areal bone mineral density (BMD), bone turnover markers, calciotropic hormones, sclerostin, bone material strength index, muscle strength, and daily physical activity. A primary analysis was conducted according to intention-to-treat principles and the primary outcome was the between-group difference on lumbar spine BMD at 12 months post-BS. A secondary analysis was also performed to analyze if the exercise effect depended on training attendance. Twelve months post-BS, primary analysis results revealed that EG had a higher BMD at lumbar spine (+0.024 g∙cm-2 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.004, 0.044]; p = .015) compared with CG. Among total hip, femoral neck, and 1/3 radius secondary outcomes, only 1/3 radius BMD improved in EG compared with CG (+0.013 g∙cm-2 [95% CI 0.003, 0.023]; p = .020). No significant exercise effects were observed on bone biochemical markers or bone material strength index. EG also had a higher lean mass (+1.5 kg [95% CI 0.1, 2.9]; p = .037) and higher number of high impacts (+51.4 [95% CI 6.6, 96.1]; p = .026) compared with CG. In addition, secondary analysis results suggest that exercise-induced benefits may be obtained on femoral neck BMD but only on those participants with ≥50% exercise attendance compared with CG (+5.3% [95% CI 2.0, 8.6]; p = .006). Our findings suggest that an exercise program is an effective strategy to ameliorate bone health in post-BS patients. © 2020 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR).