Physical finds Bush slimmer, in excellent health


President Bush has purposely lost eight pounds since his last medical checkup, in December, and his doctors said after his annual physical examination yesterday that he was in "excellent health."

Bush, 59, remains in the "superior" fitness category for a man his age, the doctors said. They also said Bush, who exercises six times a week, was "fit for duty" and expected to remain so for the rest of his term.

No significant new health problem was detected, and findings from the physical examination and the standard laboratory tests were within the normal range, according to a statement from the team of nine specialists who examined Bush.

Bush said he was "feeling pretty good" after the three-hour checkup at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

He also spent an hour visiting 14 Marines wounded in Iraq and their families, and awarded seven Purple Hearts at the hospital. A girl about 5 asked Bush what a Purple Heart was, and he replied: "That's an award for your dad. He's a brave man."

Bush, who stands nearly 6 feet, usually has his annual checkups in the summer, but last year's was postponed until Dec. 11 because of the campaign.

In December, he weighed 199.6 pounds, 8 more than the 191.6 recorded yesterday. The least he has weighed in office was 189, measured in 2001 and 2002.

After his last physical, Bush said he wanted to lose weight because he had eaten too many doughnuts in the campaign. His body fat is 15.79 percent, down from 18.25 in December.

His resting heart rate is 47 beats a minute, normal for a well-trained athlete, and his blood pressure is normal, 110 over 64.

When Bush ran for 26 minutes and 20 seconds, his heart rate reached 183 beats a minute, showing no abnormalities. Tests showed a low to very low risk of coronary artery disease.

Bush's parents suffered from overactivity of the thyroid gland, a condition that can cause unintended weight loss. Their son's thyroid function tests were reported as normal yesterday.

Bush, who stopped running because of knee problems, bicycles 15 to 20 miles at 15 to 18 miles an hour and has suffered scrapes in falls from his bike.

Bush's workouts also include exercising on a treadmill and an elliptical trainer, free-weight resistance training and stretching, the doctors said.

Bush takes a daily multivitamin, low-dose aspirin, glucosamine/chondroitin to help prevent breakdown of cartilage and slow osteoarthritis in his knees, and an omega 3 supplement to lower his risk of heart disease.

He smokes an occasional cigar and has not missed work because of illness since his last physical.

In December, doctors recommended that Bush take a statin drug to lower his cholesterol. Yesterday they said that he did not need one.

His total cholesterol was 178 yesterday, compared with 170 in December, both normal.

Bush's health

Facts about President Bush's health, from a physical examination yesterday at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. Bush is 59:

Height: 5 feet, 11 3/4 inches.

Weight: 191.6 pounds.

Blood pressure: resting, seated 110/64 (below 120/80 is healthy).

Pulse: resting, seated 47 beats per minute (60-100 bpm is normal for adults; 40-60 bpm is normal for a well-trained athlete).

Body fat: 15.79 percent.

Cholesterol: High-density lipoprotein 56 (goal is above 40); low-density 100 (optimal is below 100); total cholesterol 178 (below 200 is desirable).

Associated Press

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