Fostering Exercise After Bariatric Surgery (FREEBASE)


Lia Bally




Physical Activity
Bariatric Surgery


Behavioral: FREEBASE exercise programme

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


While the benefits of engagement in regular physical activity after bariatric surgery has been established in various studies, little is known about the effectiveness of an interdisciplinary intervention including nutritional and psychological advice, hands-on training experience and motivational education to promote long-term adherence to a self-motivated active lifestyle in the bariatric surgery population. This randomized pilot intervention study called Fostering Exercise After Bariatric Surgery (FREEBASE) explores the efficacy of an interdisciplinary approach to promote physical activity-related health competence and an active lifestyle after bariatric surgery.

Full description

Bariatric surgery is quickly emerging as a standard treatment for people with obesity stage II and III (BMI ≥35 kg/m2) because of its beneficial long-term effects on body weight and obesity-related comorbidities. In Switzerland, approximately 5,000 bariatric surgeries are performed every year. There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that engagement in physical activity benefits the bariatric surgery population in many aspects. These entail the prevention of surgery-induced metabolic complications such as sarcopenia and osteopenia on the one hand, but also the mitigation against the commonly observed weight regain and relapse of metabolic comorbidities. Despite these obvious health benefits, inactivity and poor health literacy are common problems amongst people who underwent bariatric surgery. Although the Swiss healthcare system offers well designed post-operative follow-up programmes, exercise is currently not to being considered. Additionally the lower educational level of bariatric surgery patients is a well known problem. Addressing physical activity-related health competence and self-empowerment in this population currently remains an unmet need. Previous studies investigating exercise interventions in the bariatric surgery population have demonstrated efficacy on metabolic outcomes but also indicated that adherence wanes over time. To overcome the challenge of changing lifestyle in a sustainable way, individuals need to have a complex set of abilities, skills, knowledge, motivation and willingness. In Germany, diverse models have been developed to describe this specific set of competences, all inspired by the concept of health literacy, which is internationally recognised in research and clinical practice. Physical activity-related health competence comprises three components: (1) Movement competence, enabling individuals to meet the movement-related requirements of physical activities (e.g. motor abilities, motor skills for cycling or gymnastics) (2) control competence for physical activity enabling people to gear their own activity to achieve positive effects in health and well-being, and (3) physical activity-specific self-regulation competence enabling individuals to be regularly active, which involves both motivational and volitional factors. The relevance of physical activity-related health competence for the promotion of an active lifestyle has been demonstrated in various studies in healthy and physical inactive adults at metabolic risk. However, the concept has not yet been addressed in the bariatric surgery population. The investigators therefore hypothesize, that targeting the various components of physical activity-related health competence by means of a comprehensive exercise programme has the potential to result in a more effective promotion of physical activity in the bariatric surgery population, thereby benefitting their long-term health and well-being.


40 patients




18+ years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

  • Aged ≥18 years
  • Bariatric surgery within the past 1-6 months according to the guidelines of the Swiss Society for the Study of Morbid Obesity and Metabolic Disorders (SMOB)
  • Willingness to comply with study-related activities
  • Literate in German

Exclusion criteria

  • Incapacity to give informed consent
  • Contraindication to participation in the study exercise programme as judged by the clinical investigator or treating physical
  • Physical or physiological condition likely to interfere with the normal conduct of the study and interpretation of the study results as judged by the clinical investigator or treating physical
  • Evidence of malnutrition as judged by the clinical investigator or treating physician
  • Pregnancy, planned pregnancy, or breast feeding (females of childbearing potential are advice to use safe-contraception for up to 18 months post-bariatric surgery as part of usual care)
  • Illicit or prescription drug abuse

Trial design

Primary purpose




Interventional model

Parallel Assignment


None (Open label)

40 participants in 2 patient groups

Experimental Group
Experimental group
The experimental group will participate in a 3-months training programme focusing on health competence related outcomes.
Behavioral: FREEBASE exercise programme
Control Group
No Intervention group
The control group does not participate in the exercise programme but undergoes identical outcome assessments.

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from

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