By Courtney Smith
Being the leader of the free world can take its toll on a person”s health-and especially speed up the aging process, according to research released by Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic.
“The typical person who lives one year ages one year,” Roizen said in an interview with CNN. “The typical president ages two years for every year they are in office.”
Roizen has done his research through the Cleveland Clinic, a medical clinic and research facility in Ohio.
Former President Bill Clinton came into office as the third youngest president at 47 years old. Eight years later with a near impeachment and the Monica Lewinsky scandal behind him, Clinton emerged with white hair and wrinkles.
Former President George Bush dealt with the stress of the invasion of Afghanistan, a crumbling economy and the onslaught of a recession before leaving the White House looking weathered.
Even in the campaign for the presidential office, some say it has taken its toll on President Obama.
“I feel like I have seen him age even from the beginning of his campaign to now,” said Kate Lehnhof, a BYU student. “It seems like his hair is a little more salt and pepper now.”
Roizen, a former chairman for the Food and Drug Administration, is also the cofounder of RealAge, a system that calculates a “real age” based on lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise habits. Healthy habits, such as daily exercise and a moderate diet reduce aging effects, whereas bad habits, such as smoking or over-medicating, increase effects of aging.
According to the RealAge calculator, regular exercise, like Obama demonstrates, can take up to nine years off a person”s RealAge, and strength training can lower a RealAge by up to eight years.
In the November issue of Men”s Health, Obama weekly workout schedule; two days of cardio and four days of strength training, which potentially reduces the rate at which he has aged.
While Roizen has not evaluated President Obama”s age due to a lack of medical data, the RealAge calculator suggests that smoking a pack of cigarettes per day can increase a person”s RealAge up to eight years.
“Historically Obama is one of the youngest presidents we”ve had and even beyond that I think he has a more youthful spirit than most. Did you see him getting down at the inaugural ball?” Lehnhof said. “Strictly physically speaking, he looks much younger than 47. Maybe in four years he”ll be a little more weathered and look like most men his age.”
Roizen said he feels that Obama”s time in office will put him at higher risk for serious health issues, as well.
“Barack Obama is a fairly young guy and doesn”t have as great of a risk,” Roizen said in the same interview with CNN. “If he”s president for eight years, he ends up having the risk of disability or dying, like someone who is sixteen years older.”
Roizen suggests in his book that spending time with friends, long-term relationships and a strong support system can reverse some of the effects of presidential strain.