Death and the US President

Jack Tame writes in the HoS:

There’s more to health than just his fat, Christie retorted this week. He appeared on late night TV smashing a doughnut. Unless the doctor gives him a physical or examines his family history, Christie says Mariano should “shut up”.

But surely the doctor has a point.

It’s true Obama continues to struggle with cigarettes, and that his nicotine addiction could one day spell his end. But one need only look at Christie to know he probably risks a much more sudden departure.

If tax returns, birth certificates and religious leanings are considered fair fodder for Presidential nominees, I don’t think it entirely unreasonable for a pulse to be a prerequisite, too. Being obese might not stop a person doing the job, but being dead would be a hindrance.

David Letterman makes Chris Christie fat jokes almost non-stop, so it was hilarious when Christie went on the show and after a few minutes pulled out a donut and ate it, saying he didn’t realise how long the interview would be. People love someone who can mock themselves.

Christie’s weight and health will be issues if he stands for President. However the chance of Christie departing from office prematurely is hugely overblown by commentators such as Tame.

Paul Campos at Time writes:

In January 2017, Christie will be 54, while the current Democratic front runner for her party’s presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, will be 69. It is true that with all other things being equal, compared with normal-weight people like Clinton, very obese people like Christie have an elevated mortality risk. Specifically, the most recent, detailed and sophisticated study of the question, published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people as heavy as Christie have a 29% increase in mortality risk vs. otherwise similar people of normal weight.

Now, 29% may sound like a significant elevation in risk, but let’s compare it with another factor, one that has a vastly more powerful effect than body weight: age.

Government actuarial tables reveal that with all other things being equal, the odds that a 69-year-old woman will die between January 2017 and January 2021 are 115% higher than the odds that a 54-year-old man will die during that four-year period. In other words, age poses almost exactly four times the mortality risk to Hillary Clinton as weight does to Chris Christie, in regard to the chances that either would die during a first presidential term.

So Clinton’s age is four times greater a mortality factor than Christie’s weight. How many pundits will write on the possibility that Clinton would die in office?

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