Obama walks to White House to improve cholesterol

  • Mon Mar 1st, 2010 10:12am
  • News

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Poll results, congressional head counts and federal deficits aren’t the only numbers President Barack Obama has to worry about. Now, he’s trying to walk off a marginally high cholesterol count.

Although Obama took the presidential motorcade to a speech this morning, he decided to walk back through Lafayette Park. A day earlier, his doctor recommended that he lower his cholesterol. The president told reporters he needed to “make sure that I’m walking off some of that cholesterol. That’s a year of campaigning right there.”

Obama had a physical exam Sunday morning, where he learned that his total cholesterol and so-called bad, or LDL, cholesterol had both spiked into the borderline high range since his last reported exam in 2007.

Obama hasn’t kicked the smoking habit — but continues his efforts with nicotine gum — and takes anti-inflammatory medication to relieve chronic tendinitis in his left knee, his team of doctors also said after his checkup.

The president otherwise was declared to be in excellent health.

The tendinitis that Obama suffers in his left leg could be the result of his regular basketball playing.

The president is the picture of health, eats modest portions and exercises regularly. He is an avid basketball player and golfer.

Obama said at a June news conference that he still had an occasional cigarette. It was his first public acknowledgment that he hadn’t kicked the habit. He chews nicotine gum to avoid regular smoking, and his doctor said that should continue.

The White House physician, Navy Capt. Jeffrey Kuhlman, said the president should modify his diet to bring his LDL, or bad cholesterol, below 130. At the time of his last exam, Obama’s total cholesterol was 173, while his LDL was 96 and HDL, or good cholesterol, was 68.

This time, total cholesterol was up to 209, with HDL down slightly at 62. LDL was up to 138. Borderline high cholesterol starts at 200, with LDL considered in the same category at 130.

Kuhlman said Obama last checkup was in July 2008 when he was seen by the attending physician to Congress when Obama was an Illinois senator. During the 2008 White House race, his campaign released a statement from his longtime Chicago doctor saying Obama was in excellent health when examined January 2007.

Sunday’s report said Obama is 6-foot-1 and weighs 180 pounds in shoes and exercise clothing. His pulse rate is 56, which is very good, as is his blood pressure — 105 over 62. The doctor said Obama’s vision was 20/20 in both eyes for both distance and near vision.

The president was checked for and found free of colon cancer with a virtual colonoscopy, a scan that avoids the more invasive visual inspection with a camera device that is passed into the large intestine.