Donald Trump’s health: how does he compare to the average American?

As the president heads for his regular physical check-up on Friday, what clues are available to assess his fitness? An expert weighs in

Every so often, American presidents are expected to go to the doctor for their checkup and just to reassure the American public that everything is alright. On Friday, its Trumps turn.

A physician at Walter Reed medical center will run Trump through many of the same tests regular Americans receive, such as blood pressure and cholesterol screenings. Details about the presidents health are at his discretion to release, but with what clues are available so far, a natural question arises: how is Trump likely to compare to his fellow American?

If Trumps past exams hold true, surprisingly average.

Like many American men, the 71-year-old president enjoys fast food, and is overweight. He takes statins to keep cholesterol in check. He golfs but probably does not get enough exercise. He does not smoke.

In some ways Trump is in a much less risky position than the average American senior. He nearly predicted as much before the exam, saying: I think its going to go very well. In fact, he said he would be surprised if it doesnt.

He has reported only one serious medical problem, ever: an appendectomy at 11. He is shuttled around the country in an ultra-safe car, so unlikely to have an accident. He is a teetotaler. He takes statins without a history of heart disease, which could raise eyebrows, but is common.

Hes average in terms of health, said Steve Schroeder, a professor at the University of California at San Francisco and a public health expert. The most important thing hes done is never smoke in his lifetime, and that puts him ahead of most American men.

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and Donald Trump grab some cookies. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

However, if a letter from Trumps doctor is accurate, hes nearly obese. In 2016, his campaign released a doctors letter which said the 6ft 3in candidate weighed 236 pounds. That puts his body mass index at 29, just shy of the medical definition of obese.

Further, despite the apparent openness of a public physical, the White House already ruled out releasing one test: a psychiatric exam.

Trumps mental competency has been on trial since the Guardian published excerpts of Fire and Fury, in which advisors questioned Trumps fitness for office.

In any case, Trump will have a high bar compared to his predecessor. President Obama, who is more than 10 years Trumps junior, actually got healthier toward the end of his second term in office, after he increased his lean body mass.

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