Association of obesity, quality of life (QoL), and physical fitness in people with epilepsy (PWE) is rarely reported. We evaluate the effect of a 12-week home-based exercise program on weight reduction and physical capacity in PWE.
In 173 PWE, physical fitness was assessed by using six-minute walk test (6MWT) and one-minute step test. Self-reported QoL data was collected using a 12-Item Short Form Survey (SF-12) questionnaire; further physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component scores were derived. Effect of exercise was evaluated using randomized study of 110 PWE, divided into control and exercise groups of 55 each.
At baseline, mean age of study population was 25.85 ± 9.62 years with 77 (44.5%) women. Average body mass index (BMI) was 29.33 ± 6.17 kg/m. Mean PCS and MCS were 45.95 ± 7.92 and 45.72 ± 10.40 respectively. In 124 (71.7%) PWE with obesity, while high-density lipoprotein (HDL-C) (46.10 ± 12.32 vs. 39.30 ± 10.39 mg/dL; p < .001) was lower, low-density lipoprotein (LDL-C) (101.60 ± 37.51 vs. 113.89 ± 32.65 mg/dL; p = .035) was high. Both the randomized groups were comparable for type and number of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) used. At 12-week follow-up, PWE in the exercise group reduced 7.65 ± 5.62 kg while control group gained an average of 4.01 ± 4.74 kg (p < .001). Distance walked in 6MWT (293.07 ± 118.73 vs. 464.29 ± 55.33 m; p = .007) and PCS (48.59 ± 8.57 vs. 52.62 ± 4.03; p = .006) were higher in exercise group whereas MCS did not differ between the groups. None of the participants reported seizure during the 12-week follow-up period.
People with epilepsy have low PCS and MCS scores; PWE with obesity have altered metabolic profile when compared to PWE without obesity. A 12-week, home-based exercise program significantly reduces weight and improves physical capacity, irrespective of AEDs used. Trials with larger sample size and longer follow-up are required to validate our findings.

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