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Muscle mass, physical activity and cardiovascular health following bariatric surgery

Professor Bu Yeap, Institution: University of Western Australia

2017 Vanguard Grant

Years funded: 2018-2021


Weight-reduction (bariatric) surgery is an effective treatment for obesity and it reduces diabetes risk. However, this type of surgery results in variable losses in both lean (muscle) and fat mass.

Improvements in metabolic outcomes vary, and the impact of bariatric surgery on the health of arteries and ultimately the risk of heart disease and stroke are not well understood.

It is hypothesised that men and women undergoing a weight reduction procedure (sleeve gastrectomy) who preserve lean (muscle) mass and have higher levels of physical activity prior to and after surgery, will have healthier arteries following surgery irrespective of the degree of weight loss.

In this project we will assess lean and fat mass, levels of physical activity and the function of large arteries before and after sleeve gastrectomy in a cohort of 80 men and women.

We will assess lean and fat mass before and four months after surgery, measure levels of spontaneous physical activity objectively before, two weeks and four months after surgery, and measure the function and health of large arteries including those supplying the brain at the same timepoints.

We will analyse the relationship between lean or muscle mass, and levels of physical activity, to the health of arteries and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

These results will inform us whether exercise programs, via the preservation of muscle mass, could improve cardiovascular health in people undergoing bariatric surgery.

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