Thursday 19 July 2018

White House doctor: Donald Trump in 'excellent health' despite rumours

US President Donald Trump. Photo: AP
US President Donald Trump. Photo: AP
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

US president Donald Trump is "in excellent health", according to a White House doctor who performed a routine medical.

The examination on Friday coincided with swirling questions about Mr Trump's physical and medical fitness for office.

Dr Ronny Jackson said in a statement released by the White House the president's physical "went exceptionally well".

The fairly routine examination for previous presidents has taken on an increased importance in the age of Mr Trump, given the tone of some of his tweets, comments attributed to some of his close advisers and the president's recent slurring of words on national TV.

Some of the comments were published in a new book about Mr Trump's first year in office, Fire And Fury: Inside The Trump White House by Michael Wolff, which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has denounced as "complete fantasy" for portraying her 71-year-old boss as undisciplined and in over his head as president.

Mr Trump himself has pushed back hard against any suggestion that he is mentally unfit, declaring himself "a very stable genius".

The examination lasted several hours and measured things like Mr Trump's blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, heart rate and weight.

The White House did not provide specific results of those tests. Dr Jackson, who also provided care for President Barack Obama and became a White House physician in 2006, is expected to provide a detailed readout of the exam on Tuesday and answer questions from reporters.

But conclusions about Mr Trump's mental acuity were not expected. The White House said he would not undergo a psychiatric exam.

Two months before the November 2016 election, Mr Trump released a five-paragraph letter from his longtime physician, Dr Harold Bornstein, who concluded that Mr Trump "is in excellent physical health." A year earlier, Bornstein said in a December 2015 letter: "If elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency."

The 2016 letter put Mr Trump's blood pressure and cholesterol measurements in the healthy range, though he uses a cholesterol-lowering statin medication. His EKG, chest X-ray, echocardiogram and blood sugar were normal.

The 6-foot-3 Trump weighed 236 pounds (107 kilograms), and his body mass index, or BMI, of 29.5 put him in the category of being overweight for his height.

How much of Mr Trump's health information is released to the public is up to the president, but Ms Sanders said she expects the White House to release the same kind of details past presidents have made public.

Mr Obama's three medical reports included sections on vital statistics; physical exam by system, such as eyes, pulmonary and gastrointestinal; lab results; his past medical and surgical history; his social history; and medications, among others.

Mr Trump has said he gets most of his exercise playing golf.

The American Heart Association has said the best types of exercise increase the heart rate and make a person breathe heavily, but that activities like golf don't provide as much cardiovascular benefit since they don't require much extra effort.

Mr Obama played basketball, lifted weights, worked out on an elliptical machine or treadmill and played golf. George W. Bush traded running for mountain biking to preserve his knees. Bill Clinton was a runner who installed a jogging track at the White House. He also played golf and indulged in Big Macs.

Mr Trump likes fast food, too, along with well-done steaks, chocolate cake and double scoops of vanilla ice cream.

He reportedly downs 12 Diet Cokes a day. In their recent book, Let Trump Be Trump, former top campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie described the four major food groups on Trump's campaign plane as "McDonald's, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza and Diet Coke."

Press Association

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