Trump gains weight, now considered obese; cholesterol down
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has put on some pounds and is now officially considered obese.
The White House on Thursday released results of his most recent physical, revealing that his Body Mass Index is now 30.4. That’s based on the fact that he’s now carrying 243 pounds on his 6-foot, 3-inch frame. That’s up from 236 pounds in September 2016 before he became president.
An index rating of 30 is the level at which doctors consider someone obese under this commonly used formula. About 40 percent of Americans are obese, and that raises their risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some forms of cancer.
Trump doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke, but he’s not a big fan of the gym either. His primary form of exercise is golf. And he says he gets plenty of walking in around the White House complex.
As for his diet, Trump’s love of fast food remains. Last month, he invited the college football champion Clemson Tigers to the White House during the partial government shutdown. With the White House kitchen too understaffed to cater a meal, Trump stepped in: He ordered burgers, french fries and pizza.
Despite gaining four pounds from last year, Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, said the 72-year-old president “remains in very good health overall.”
His resting heart rate is 70 beats a minute and his blood pressure reading was 118 over 80, well within the normal range.
Conley said routine lab tests were performed and Trump’s liver, kidney and thyroid functions are all normal as were his electrolytes and blood counts. An electrocardiogram, a test that measures electrical activity generated by the heart as it beats, remained unchanged from last year.
“Despite the fact that he’s obese, his blood pressure is normal,” said Dr. Mariell Jessup, the Heart Association’s chief science and medical officer.
Using the association’s heart risk calculator, “he has a 17 percent chance of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years,” mostly because of his age and slightly elevated bad cholesterol, she said.
Modern-day presidents have undergone regular exams to catch any potential problems but also to assure the public that they are fit for office. Trump went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last week for his second periodic physical, which lasted about four hours. During his exam, he received a flu shot and an inoculation to help prevent shingles, a viral infection that causes a painful rash.
“I performed and supervised the evaluation with a panel of 11 different board-certified specialists,” Conley wrote in a memorandum to the White House. “He did not undergo any procedures requiring sedation or anesthesia.”
His cholesterol reading improved since last year.
At his physical in January 2018, his total cholesterol was 223, which his higher than recommended, even though he was taking a low dose of the statin drug Crestor to help lower so-called “bad” cholesterol and fats. Last year, his doctor said he would increase that dose in an effort to get Trump’s bad cholesterol reading of 143 down below 120.
Now, Trump’s total cholesterol is down to 196, yet his LDL or “bad” cholesterol is 122 — slightly elevated. Conley said he planned to increase the dosage of a statin drug to 40 milligrams a day to bring the president’s cholesterol reading down further.
Dr. Robert Eckel, a former American Heart Association president and cardiologist at the University of Colorado, said he would aim for an LDL below 100.
“Losing some weight would help modify some of the risk factors for heart disease,” Eckel said. “A 20- to 25-pound weight loss would be what I’d recommend if he were my patient. And that’s not a quick fix.”
Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee contributed to this report.