During an election cycle, it is normal to hear some chatter about the fitness and health of potential Presidential candidates. For example, concern was expressed in 2008 over the age and health problems of John McCain, who has had trouble with skin cancer in the past. Of course, in 2012, while some expressed concern over things like Obama’s smoking habit, both candidates seem to be relatively fit men. Interestingly enough, in a story from Huffington Post, it was reported that both President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have a BMI of 23.9, which is within the range of what is considered “normal”. However, it wasn’t just general health that got some attention this time around. Regardless of your political views, you might have noticed that physical fitness and associated health-related issues played an important, or at least more-talked about, role on both sides during this election cycle. This was lead not by the Presidential candidates, but by First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice Presidential-hopeful (and now Senator) Paul Ryan.
Michelle Obama serves as the Honorary Chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America. The Partnership for a Healthier America has been launched to help bring attention to the prevalence of childhood obesity. The First Lady has joined Democrats, Republicans, and independents from organizations, businesses, and schools to increase efforts to solve childhood obesity. You can check out what the First Lady has been involved with at their website (http://www.ahealthieramerica.org). The First Lady is also involved with the site “Let’s Move!”, which focuses on leading a healthy and active lifestyle. To top it off, Michelle has been pictured gardening in the White House Kitchen Garden on multiple occasions. Luckily, it also seems Michelle’s health conscience views and opinions have finally gotten President Barack Obama to cut his smoking habit! President Obama doesn’t get nearly the same amount of credit as his better half for his exercise regimen, but only because he isn’t as involved. The President exercises everyday and enjoys running, golfing, lifting, and basketball.
Senator Paul Ryan (who ended up holding onto his Wisconsin Senate seat after Pres. Obama and VP Biden were reelected), is known for his toned physique, which he has earned from a strict diet and routine use of the popular workout video, P90X. Senator Ryan’s political involvement in physical fitness awareness is a bit smaller, but he has been known to run in local races, and has also led P90X classes in his hometown of Janesville, WI. He did, however, face some controversy a few months ago when he drastically underestimated his marathon time, claiming he ran it in under 3 hours when his actual time was ~4 hours. Governor Romney, on the other hand, enjoys hitting the elliptical every morning, going for hikes, and swimming with the family at their New Hampshire summer home.
Health, fitness, diet, and sports have been a concern for both Republicans and Democrats alike since our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt, expressed an interest in boxing, wrestling, hiking, tennis, and hunting and his belief that we needed to keep physically fit as a nation. In fact, President Roosevelt installed the first tennis court on the White House grounds. It’s great to see that, although we can’t always get along on social or economic views, we can all agree, to some extent, that we all need to lead healthy lives.