Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Presidents, Prime Ministers may age faster, die sooner

16 December 2015, 08:21

London — Leading a country comes with extraordinary privileges but also, apparently, a price: new research suggests that heads of state age faster than normal and that the stress of the job may shave almost three years off their life expectancy.

Doctors analyzed how long presidents and prime ministers in 17 countries — including Britain, Canada, France, Germany and the U.S. — survived after leaving office, compared to the losing candidates. They also observed the number of years that heads of state lived versus what was expected for someone of the same age and gender.

After considering the fates of 279 heads of state and 261 runner-ups, they concluded former leaders lived for almost three fewer years than expected. The study was published online Monday in the medical journal, The BMJ.

"To lose a few years is significant," said Dr. Anupam Jena of Harvard Medical School, the study's senior author.

"(Leaders) probably felt national priorities were much more pressing than eating right and exercising," he said, saying former U.S. President Bill Clinton's admitted weakness for fast food may have resulted in "stress eating."

"Maybe if there had been world peace, his lifestyle would have been different," Jena said.

After leaving office, Clinton had bypass surgery; he subsequently said he lost weight and became vegan to try to reverse his heart disease.

Other researchers have found that American presidents actually live longer than their constituents.

"The stress (of leading a country) could accelerate the graying of hair and wrinkling of skin, but that doesn't mean they'll die earlier," said S. Jay Olshansky, a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

His research on former commanders in chief found they had a longer-than-expected life expectancy, partly because they are part of the top 1 percent of the population that are highly educated, wealthy and have better access to health care than most.

Still, even U.S. President Barack Obama recently joked with Canada's new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who is about a decade younger than Obama — about how a country's top office can speed up aging. Obama advised Trudeau he should start dying his hair to avoid going gray.

Jena said Trudeau — who is a keen outdoorsman — might fare better than expected.

"Someone like him, who is fit, may be in a better starting position than others," he said. "The years could be kinder to him."

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.

- AP

Tags us uk canada

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilwon Ochieng
Deputy Governor's ally found with...

The EACC has recovered KES 2 million in fake currency from a close ally of Deputy Governor for Tharaka Nithi Eliud Mati. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
Mudavadi given permission to join...

Musalia Mudavadi has been ghranted permission by his party to join the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
EACC officers raid Deputy Governo...

EACC officers raided the home of a Deputy Governor as theft case continues in court. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
New IEBC bosses to be named Novem...

New IEBC bosses will be named on November 30. Read more...

Submitted by
William Korir
DP Ruto has spoilt my name, activ...

DP William Ruto has spoilt my name, activist complains. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...