No Evidence to Show Shortened Life Span of U.S. Presidents

Most U.S. presidents lived beyond the average life expectancy of same-aged U.S. men

TUESDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- There is no evidence to indicate that the lives of U.S. presidents are shortened compared with other U.S. men, according to a letter published in the Dec. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Stuart Jay Olshansky, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, investigated the claim that U.S. presidents experience accelerated aging while in office, by comparing life expectancies for U.S. presidents and men at the same age at inauguration. Data for ages at inauguration and death for every deceased U.S. president were assessed from historical records. Life spans of each president who died of natural causes were compared with the estimated life spans during that time period.

The investigators found that, for all presidents, the mean estimated life span for men matched to the date of inauguration was 73.3 years. Assuming that aging rate was twice the normal while in office, the estimated mean life span of all presidents (including those still alive) was 68.1 years. The observed mean life span was 73 years for the 34 deceased presidents who died of natural causes. Of these presidents, 23 had a mean age of death of 78.0 years, and lived longer than expected with accelerated aging (estimated age of death with accelerated aging, 67.0 years). For the 11 presidents who died earlier than expected, the mean observed and estimated life spans were 62.1 and 67.8 years, respectively. All living presidents either exceeded or are likely to exceed the estimated life span of all U.S. men.

"This study found no evidence that U.S. presidents die sooner, on average, than other U.S. men," the author writes.

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