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Patients with depression are at increased risk of subsequently becoming obese and vice versa.
University of Glasgow researchers found depressed patients were 73 per cent more likely than those not depressed to be obese five years later.
Patients with obesity were 73 per cent more likely than those not obese to be depressed after five years.
Dr Chris Manning, chief executive of Primary Care Mental Health and Education, said GPs should screen all depressed patients for obesity and all obese patients for depression.
But he added: 'It re-emphasises the need for GPs to have the time and the up-to-date proven skills and methods to deal with the lifestyle issues of their patients.'
The study, presented at this week's Society for Social Medicine annual scientific meeting in Glasgow, followed three cohorts of around 1,000 people each, aged 15, 35 and 55, from 1987 to 2004.