January 4, 2009

Oval Office ages presidents

U.S. presidents age two years for every one year they are in office, aging specialist Michael Roizen says.

The stress of the Oval Office translates into gray hair, wrinkles and weight fluctuation, said Roizen, a doctor who has examined medical information on presidents dating back to Theodore Roosevelt.

It doesn't matter if they're Democrats or Republicans, it doesn't matter if they've been athletes or not beforehand, it doesn't matter if they were smokers or not, said Roizen, chief wellness officer at Cleveland Clinic. For 8 years in office, they age 16 years.

Presidents, on average, also have shorter life spans than members of Congress or the Supreme Court, said Robert E. Gilbert, a Northeastern University political scientist who wrote the book The Mortal Presidency.

Twenty-five of 36 presidents from George Washington to Richard Nixon died earlier than would have been predicted by life expectancy data used by insurance companies, Gilbert told The Boston Globe in a story published Sunday.