President Bush, who joked about having been a C student in his college years, continues to ace his annual medical exams. His most recent checkup portrays the president as the very model of a baby boomer who will reach his 60th birthday next July. He works out six times a week, his resting blood pressure is a healthy 110/64 and he's lost eight pounds since last year. In sum, his doctors reported, "the president remains in the 'superior' fitness category for men his age."
While the physicians recommended that Bush wear sunscreen and wide-brimmed hats to protect against damaging solar rays, they had no comment on one dicey habit the president reported: an occasional cigar. Other details of their report appear at right. For a link to the full text, go to www.washingtonpost.com/health.
6 feet, the president's body mass index, or BMI, is about 26. That would push him into the "overweight" category crowded with so many people who eat too much and move too little. But Bush's low body fat -- 15.79 percent, down from last year's 18.25 percent -- demonstrates
what experts say: that BMI alone
is inadequate for measuring
the fitness of people who work out rigorously. If you're not a regular exerciser, alas, BMI alone is probably accurate. Normal body fat for a
man his age ranges from 16.5 percent to 20.5 percent.Cardiovascular health With a resting heart rate of 47 beats per minute -- 60 to 80 is the average -- Bush has a low to very low risk of coronary artery disease. The president's total cholesterol is 178. Doctors like to see numbers below 200 for most of us, lower if we're at high risk for heart disease. Bush controls his cholesterol with diet and exercise. If you can't, your doctor may recommend a statin drug.Heartburn Like millions of his fellow Americans, the president experiences symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease,
or GERD, which occurs when
the valve connecting the esophagus
to the stomach does not close properly, allowing stomach acid
to rise into the gullet. Rx: Cut back on coffee and peppermint. For mild cases, doctors usually recommend lifestyle changes and over-the-
counter treatments before turning to prescription drugs.Knee pain In addition to taking a daily multivitamin and low-dose aspirin, Bush uses glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, a popular treatment for reducing joint pain and stiffness. (Formerly a runner, the president switched to biking to reduce impact on his knees.) Research on whether these dietary supplements actually work has produced conflicting results. The findings of a large federally funded study are due to be announced by the end of the year. No filibuster is expected.