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Doctors Pronounce Bush Fit, a Bit Heavier

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, December 12, 2004; Page A04

President Bush is fit, but a few pounds fatter, heading into his second term in office, doctors who conducted three hours of physical testing on the president yesterday said.

Bush, 58, blamed a 5.6-pound weight gain over the past 16 months on heavier eating during the election campaign. "I intend to lose some inches off my waistline and pounds off my frame," Bush told reporters after his exam at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. He has put on 10 pounds since his first exam as president in 2001, and now weighs nearly 200 pounds.

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Bush, an active and highly proficient runner before he injured his knee last year, still works out six days a week, riding a bicycle, lifting weights or walking on a treadmill. He does not drink alcohol but smokes an occasional cigar, the medical reports said. "The president remains in the 'superior' fitness category for men his age," meaning he is in the top 20 percent for men ages 55 to 59, a White House medical summary said.

He does not routinely take any medications but takes vitamins and chondroitin and glucosamine, supplements that, while unproven, are said to prevent and help repair joint problems.

Bush's tale of the tape: He is 5'11.75" tall, 199.6 pounds.

Bush's resting heart rate was 52 beats per minute, up from 45 beats per minute 16 months ago. A stress test showed "no signs or symptoms" of any heart problem, the summary said. His total cholesterol level was 170, compared with 167 last year, within the normal range for the blood-fat reading. Bush's blood pressure was 110/60, compared with 110/62 last year.

"I've obviously gone through a campaign where I probably ate too many doughnuts," Bush told reporters. "My New Year's resolution has become apparent after getting on the scales." His body-fat index was 18.25 percent, up from 14.5 percent in August 2003; that is within the normal range for a person his age, the summary said.

A team of 10 doctors led by Richard Tubb, Bush's personal physician, and Kenneth Cooper, head of the Cooper Aerobics Center, said in a statement they "find him to be fit for duty and have every reasonable expectation that he will remain fit for duty for the duration of his presidency."

Doctors removed a small, and apparently harmless, lesion from his left shoulder. Pathology results will not be available for a few weeks, the report said. Four small precancerous skin lesions on the president's cheeks and left arm were treated during last year's examination with liquid nitrogen.

After his physical, Bush met at the medical center with four dozen Marines and sailors who were injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. He awarded 14 Purple Hearts.

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