All eyes are on the President of the United States and their image– from what they say to what they’re eating to what they buy when they move into the White House. The U.S needs a healthy leader, but some of the past presidents haven’t fared so well in terms of health. Here’s a look at some of the nation’s 10 unhealthy presidents; hence why the article is titled Top 10 Illnesses in the Oval Office.
1. Andrew Jackson
This U.S. President suffered from emotion as well as physical problem. When inaugurated into office at the age of 62, he was extremely thin. He had just lost his wife to a heart attack. He himself was not in good health. He suffered from decaying teeth, chronic headaches, failing eyesight and bleeding inside his lungs. There were also two bullet wounds from two duels he participated in.
Of all presidential reputations, Andrew Jackson’s is perhaps the most tricky to sum up or explain. Most Americans recognize his name, though most almost certainly know him (in the words of a famous song) as the general who “fought the bloody British in the town of New Orleans” in 1815. Many polls were taken between 1948 and 2009 and all of them ranked Jackson in or near the top ten presidents, among the “great” or “near great.”
Andrew Jackson left an everlasting imprint upon American politics and the presidency. Within eight years, he melded the shapeless coalition of personal followers who had elected him into the country’s most durable and successful political party, an electoral machine whose organization and discipline would become the basis for all others. In the meantime, his very contentious conduct in office spurred opponents to organize the Whig party. The Democratic party was his child; the national two-party system was his bequest on America.
2. Woodrow Wilson
He was the U.S. President to rule America during WWI. The man suffered from extreme hypertension, headaches and double vision. Couple these conditions with a series of strokes that affected his right hand and leaving him unable to write for a year. Increasing strokes also left him blind in one eye and paralyzing on his left side.
He kept his paralysis a secret for most of his later years in presidency. Once it was discovered, the 25th amendment was enacted to allow the VP to take power upon the death of the President, or even resignation or disability.
Wilson is most remembered for his 14 Points. Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points were first outlined in a speech Wilson gave to the American Congress in January 1918. Wilson’s Fourteen Points became the basis for a peace programme and it was on the back of the Fourteen Points that Germany and her allies agreed to an armistice in November 1918.
3. Grover Cleveland
Cleveland suffered all throughout life with obesity, nephritis and gout. He ultimately discovered a tumor in his mouth (jaw cancer) and underwent surgery to remove part of his jaw and hard palate. Disfigured, but recovered, he died in 1908 of a heart attack.
He is well known for being the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms in office.
4. William Taft
Taft suffered from morbid obesity – the extreme kind. He weighed over 300 lbs, making him the fattest president of the United States. Through aggressive dieting, he was able to lose almost 100 lbs, which he grew back and lost again through his lifetime. He also suffered from sleep apnea, which caused him to miss his political meeting and high blood pressure and heart problems.
He is well known for creating a progressive system of checks and balances for the U.S federal government, which is still being used today.
5. Bill Clinton
Despite being an avid jogger, Bill Clinton has admitted to a weakness for fast food and a sweet tooth, both of which have placed strain on his arteries.
In 1997 a physical revealed that Mr Clinton had lowered his weight to 196 pounds from an unofficial high of 226 pounds in 1991. The physical reportedly measured his cholesterol level at 179, and his blood pressure at 122 over 68.
However, by his final presidential physical, Bill Clinton’s weight had risen again to 214 pounds, his cholesterol level had increased, and his blood pressure was climbing.