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Obama going gray: Do presidents age faster?

December 6, 2011

About the Author

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Peter Wehrwein, Contributor, Harvard Health

Peter Wehrwein was the editor of the Harvard Health Letter from 1999 to May 2012. He is currently a freelance writer and editor, and contributes to the Harvard Health blog and Before editing the Health Letter, … See Full Bio
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January 13, 2012

naturally like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will surely come back again.

Heather Smith
January 4, 2012

Interesting article, a presidents job is very stressful but I don’t think he has age faster, in his appearance maybe because of his gray hair but that does not mean his aging faster. I had a great time reading this article, thanks.

heather barr
January 3, 2012

I believe the good Doctor means unremitting, unceasing, perpetual, continuous or constant unmitigated/undiluted stress. Not unrequited. Unrequited means unreturned or unreciprocated, as in its most familiar use, unrequited love.
I’d go gray in a day if I had President Obama’s job. Not a day’s rest from stress.

Mik H
January 2, 2012

I don’t know if he has aged, but he has sure made me age in the past 3 years.

Jaleesa Schlicher
December 11, 2011

Exceptional content articles on your website, i share it with my friends from UK, maintain growing it, Cheers !!

Joe Williams
December 9, 2011

Isn’t it just a function of normally electing men who are entering middle-age? He took office when he was in his forties and now he is in his fifties. Isn’t that when we would expect to see men’s hair turn gray?

December 8, 2011

Did anyone else notice that the average President actually lived a SHORTER life than the typical man of their time? The average President lived to 73.0 while the average man lived to 73.3. This might not be statistically significant, but it could be if the study considered socioeconomic background. For example, the author of the study estimated FDR would live 12 years shorter than average since he was in office 12 years. FDR lived longer than would be predicted if he lost an extra year of life for each year in office – he only lived 8.5 years shorter than average, not 12 years shorter than average – but amazingly this is mistakenly translated into his living longer than average. Re-look at the study please – if anything, it shows Presidents live shorter, not longer lives.

Patty Tucker
December 6, 2011

Couldn’t both be true — that presidents age more quickly during the time they are in office and then when the stress is off after the term ends, they fall back on their genetic privilege and live to be ripe oldsters?

Maybe, as in politics in general, a “this AND that” view could explain more than the “EITHER / OR” one…

Kevin Brown
December 6, 2011

What exactly was the point of this article? Stress damages and ages the body. Presidents have a very stressful job, but are only in office for 4 or 8 years. The effect heavy stress takes on the body depends on the person’s body, how they’ve maintained it over the years and how they treat it in the future. And of course, just because you’re alive, doesn’t mean you’re healthy.

Was just just an article for people who aren’t very bright to tell them that being a president won’t automatically kill you sooner? If that was your target audience, I think putting this article in The National Enquirer would have been more helpful.

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