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Why Don’t Presidents Gain Weight?

July 1, 2014

President Obama’s hair appears to have gotten much grayer since he became president.  But, he doesn’t seem to have gained any weight.  Also, none of his predecessors during the last six decades seem to have gained weight during their presidencies.  Why?


I don’t know, but I can guess.  I suppose they eat the right foods irrespective of their frequent travel patterns, don’t over indulge liquor, get to sleep and wake up at a regular time irrespective of exceptions for emergencies they need to be apprised of or deal with and exercise on a regular regimen.  They also don’t have to spend time commuting so have that extra time and no traffic stress many of us cannot avoid.


They are also public figures and weight changes can create an unfavorable image that can reduce confidence in them.  I suspect they are aware of this and work at keeping their weight steady.


Well, the same applies to many heads of corporations, other business leaders, political figures and professionals such as physicians, attorneys and accountants.  As much as we deny it, appearances do count.  We can’t help the way we look, but we can control ourselves from unfavorable and unsightly changes.


I have an unscientific observation about weight changes.  I’ve noticed that business people with weight run-ups seem to be having business or personal problems.  I won’t speculate about this correlation, but it has proven to me over a long period of time to be a reliable indicator of problems.


Perhaps emulating what I suggested as the reason for President Obama’s steady weight is a good way to start dealing with your own weight and health.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. steven oberg permalink
    July 1, 2014 2:19 pm

    Ed, this is another interesting observation. Keep them coming.

  2. Cohen, Harvey L permalink
    July 1, 2014 2:53 pm


    I don’t agree with at least two of the reasons you suggest for the lack of weight gain by our presidents and I think that you’ve left off the most significant reason.

    In my view you can remove from the list getting to sleep and waking up at a regular time and exercising on a regular regimen. I’d say that our presidents spend more than any working professional dealing with other people and reading voluminous reports and “executive summaries” prepared by their staff for addressing the endless number of issues facing all presidents. I think that this leaves less time for sleep and exercising than even the typical professional, who probably exercises much less than health professionals recommend.

    Left off the list is stress, which not only accounts for President Obama’s grey hair, but also the aged change in appearance of all presidents during their time in office, having less to do with the number of years than the levels of stress. I can’t imagine the stress that our presidents (and probably all leaders of nations) must face on a daily basis – that’s 24 hours a day, seven days a week for at least four years and typically eight. My guess is that as a result of such stress our presidents don’t have much of an appetite, only eat somewhat healthy smaller meals (except when attending official meals with others) probably at the insistence of their physicians and staff who closely monitor them.

    While I agree that many people gain weight when they have problems or are under stress, that’s because they’re free to act on their own, not overseen by a medical staff and use food to get the endorphins they crave to deal with their stress. I know it was a major factor in my weight gain and only changed when I couldn’t button a shirt and decided that enough-was-enough, no matter how hard it was to keep my mouth shut, for a change.

    That’s one stressed man’s opinion.


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    • July 1, 2014 10:51 pm

      Harvey, I never saw you look overweight or overstressed.
      Thanks for the comments and observations.

  3. Robert Nagler permalink
    July 2, 2014 11:13 am

    Hi Ed they are traveling all the time and never home to eat sit down dinner

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