Study objectives: The number of severely obese patients undergoing bariatric surgery is increasing. No incremental cycle ergometer data are available in this category of patients. The current study was undertaken to provide information and to compare outcomes between severely obese men and women during physical exercise.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Participants: Twenty-two men and 34 women, all with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2, were selected from among persons participating in a dedicated weight management program that was carried out in the outpatient clinic of a large teaching hospital.
Measurements and results: Body composition was estimated with bioelectrical impedance. Oxygen uptake (V̇o2) was obtained by breath-by-breath minute ventilation (ventilated hood) and was measured under resting energy expenditure (REE) conditions. Endurance was measured with an incremental cycle ergometer test. Male and female groups were balanced for mean (± SD) age (42.7 ± 7.6 vs 41.8 ± 8.9 years, respectively), BMI (43.0 ± 4.9 vs 41.3 ± 5.2 kg/m2, respectively), and fat weight (55.5 ± 14.0 vs 56.8 ± 2.2 kg, respectively). Fat-free mass (FFM), FFM index, fasting blood glucose level, insulin level, REE, and V̇o2 at rest and during subjective maximal endurance were higher in the male group. However, maximal V̇o2 (women, 119 ± 19% predicted; men, 92 ± 16% predicted) and anaerobic threshold were higher in the female group (women, 64 ± 12% predicted; men, 48 ± 76% predicted, respectively; p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Severely obese men were more carbohydrate-intolerant and sustained less physical endurance than was predicted according to standards in comparison with obese women. The cycle ergometer data indicated that male gender was associated with less physical fitness.