White House: 'Obama is in excellent health'
WASHINGTON (AP) - His frequent burger runs aside, President Barack Obama is in excellent health, the White House said Thursday in its first update on his well-being in nearly three years.
Obama eats a healthy diet, exercises daily and remains tobacco free, according to a two-page memo from his doctor after a physical exam last month. Obama is a former smoker who is often seen chewing nicotine gum.
But with age, there often are aches and pains. Obama, who turns 53 in August, suffers from mild tenderness in the muscle beneath his right foot, a condition he treats by taking an occasional ibuprofen tablet.
He also takes a daily supplement to treat mild Vitamin D deficiency.
"The president's overall health is excellent," Obama's doctor, Ronny L. Jackson, said in the memo to White House press secretary Jay Carney. "All clinical data indicates that the president is currently healthy and that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency."
The White House released the report after repeated inquiries by The Associated Press into the lack of transparency about the president's health. Obama's previous health update came in October 2011.
He has had three physical exams as president. The first one was conducted in February 2010.
Obama's pulse and blood pressure are excellent, according to Thursday's report.
His total cholesterol registered at 213, a bit over the recommendation to stay below 200. His LDL, or "bad," cholesterol is slightly above the recommendation to stay below 130, pushing both into the borderline high category. But both are also offset by his excellent HDL, or "good," cholesterol level, which, at 72, is above the recommended 60.
The 6-foot-1 Obama also had lost a pound and a few ounces since 2011, and had several benign skin tags removed from his neck.
Obama has maintained good health since taking office, with his weight, body mass index, pulse, blood pressure and temperature all basically holding steady over the years, according to the medical reports.
He weighed 179.9 pounds in 2010, went to 181.3 pounds in 2011 and dropped back 180 pounds last month.
While there is no requirement for the president to have a physical exam, modern officeholders undergo them regularly and routinely release the results to reassure the public that they are up to the job, said Dr. Connie Mariano, who was chief White House physician and director of the White House Medical Unit under President Bill Clinton.
"But it's pretty much the job of the White House doctor to say 'Mr. President, it's been a year or 18 months. We ought to take a look at your cholesterol, check your blood pressure,'" she said. "All the basic things we encourage other Americans to get checked."