London, Aug 14 (ANI): Dutch researchers have found that people who are obese are more likely to make frequent trips to their GP than smokers.
As part of their study, the research team from Maastricht University looked at GP data from almost 4,500 adults, reports the BBC.
Participants also filled in a questionnaire designed to find out about their lifestyles, such as their diet, whether they smoked, how much they drank and how much exercise they did.
They expected to find that the most unhealthy or unfit people would visit their GP more often.
But of the lifestyle factors looked at, only body mass index (BMI) was independently associated with frequent visits to the doctor.
The finding was true of both men and women and was not accounted for by higher rates of chronic illness.
Although the researchers could not conclude from the study why overweight people may visit their GP more often, they speculated they may have more minor complaints, such as sleep problems or musculoskeletal pain.
Study's lead author Dr Marjan van den Akker said further work was needed to unpick the reasons for frequent attendance.
And she added that GPs would come under increasing pressure as obesity becomes more common and other ways of managing demand may need to be considered.
The research is published in Family Practice. (ANI)