Lighter, Stronger, Healthier with Age: Lessons From the President

President Obama is 25 pounds lighter than the average man in his 50s.
President Obama is 25 pounds lighter than the average man in his 50s. 

President Barack Obama has arguably the most stressful, hectic, and thankless job in America — and yet the guy is a lot healthier than many men half his age. In fact, our President is in even better shape than he was two years ago. The White House just released the results of his latest physical, and his numbers are impressive for any 54-year-old, let alone one who's constantly zigzagging across the country and duking it out with Congress.

Standing 6-foot-1, Obama weighs in at 175 pounds, five pounds less than at his last checkup in 2014. That's also 25 pounds lighter than the average man in his 50s, who, by the way, is just 5-foot-9. No surprise, then, Obama's body-mass index is a stellar 22.8, also better than his 2014 stats. His heart looks to be in fab condition, too. POTUS got his blood pressure down slightly to a very healthy 110/68, and his total cholesterol level is markedly better than last time: 188 versus a borderline-high 233.

So what's Obama's secret? According to his doctor, it's simple: The President eats a healthy diet, doesn't smoke, and rarely drinks alcohol. He makes time to exercise daily, mixing in cardio and resistance training, and pops a vitamin D supplement. His main vice? The occasional piece of nicotine gum. 

There you have it: No crash diets, no psychotic workout plans, no drugs necessary. Obama is presidential proof that adopting regular, sustainable, healthy habits is the best way to stay slim and fit and even drop a few pounds. That, in turn, translates to lasting health outcomes.

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"The weight-loss world tempts us with fast fixes like cleanses, pills, and 30-day diets," says Jen McDaniel, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "Sure, you can lose weight with drastic diet tricks, but the losses are often short-lived." Not only that, but the weight you do lose is usually water and muscle rather than fat, which can wind up doing your body more harm than good.

"People who seek out sustainable approaches to improving their diets and increasing their physical activity are the ones who lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off," McDaniel says. "Obama demonstrates that, even despite the pressure of his job, regular workouts coupled with a balanced diet — including the occasional chips and guacamole — results in all-around improved health."