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Bush deemed ‘fit for duty’

Sun., Dec. 12, 2004

BETHESDA, Md. – President Bush was found in good health and pronounced “fit for duty” after an annual physical Saturday that also showed that the 58-year-old chief executive is now, as he rather sheepishly conceded, “a little overweight.”

“I obviously have gone through a campaign where I probably ate too many doughnuts, if you get my drift,” said the usually trim Bush, who pledged to drop some weight in the new year. “But other than that, I feel great,” he said upon leaving the National Naval Medical Center outside Washington.

The checkup, which took about three hours, found a few minor issues, according to a summary released later Saturday by the White House.

Bush’s cholesterol level increased slightly, to 170 from 167 at his August 2003 physical, but he saw a large rise in his level of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and a drop in his level of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. The doctors also put Bush in a “low” or “very low” risk category for coronary artery disease, saying he has evidence of mild coronary artery calcification.

A small lesion was removed from his left shoulder. The doctors said it appeared benign, but ordered a biopsy. They also recommended that other lesions observed on his face be removed with liquid nitrogen over the holidays.

Some previous health problems were noted to continue: a mild high-frequency hearing loss that does not affect everyday conversation and an optic condition that has the effect of farsightedness and causes him to occasionally use reading glasses. The hearing and vision exams were conducted at the White House late last month, the statement said.

Otherwise, Bush was pronounced to be in a “superior” fitness category for men his age, the statement said.

His resting pulse rate, though at 52 beats per minute and higher than last year’s 45, still marks him as a healthy man. His resting blood pressure remained healthy at 110/60.

Presiding over the medical exam were White House physician Richard Tubb and Dr. Kenneth Cooper, president of the Cooper Aerobics Center.

At nearly 6 feet tall, Bush’s weight increased to almost 200 pounds from 194 pounds 17 months ago. His body fat percentage increased to 18.25 percent from 14.5 percent. Bush, a devoted exerciser who prides himself on his discipline, seemed to take the gain hard.

After the checkup, Bush stayed at the medical facility to visit privately for about two hours with Marines, sailors and one soldier recovering from injuries suffered in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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