March 1, 2010 in Nation/World

Obama gets first physical

President declared in ‘excellent health’
Janet Hook Tribune Washington bureau
Associated Press photo

President Barack Obama returns from a medical exam Sunday.
(Full-size photo)

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is fit as a fiddle, but he should lower his cholesterol and kick his smoking habit.

That was the opinion of White House physician Jeffrey Kuhlman on Sunday after Obama’s first routine physical examination since becoming president.

The 90-minute exam, conducted at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., found Obama, 48, was in “excellent health” and “fit for duty.”

The doctor said Obama did not need to return for another exam until August 2011, after he turns 50.

Although Obama has cut back on cigarettes, he has not quit and the doctor recommended he “continue smoking cessation efforts,” including nicotine gum.

And although Obama generally eats well, the doctor said his cholesterol had risen significantly since his last exam in July 2008.

His LDL, or bad cholesterol, was higher at 138, from 96, with 130 considered borderline high. His HDL, or good cholesterol, had dropped to 62 from 68. And his total cholesterol had risen to 209 – also borderline high. It had been 173 in his last exam.

At 6-feet-1, Obama weighs 180 pounds. His pulse is 56 and his blood pressure is 105 over 62 – both very good. He has 20/20 vision in both eyes. A virtual colonoscopy found him free of colon cancer.

Obama exercises regularly and he enjoys playing basketball and golf. But the doctor’s report said he had chronic tendinitis in his left leg, for which he takes a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. The doctor recommended he modify his exercise regime to strengthen the leg.

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