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If President Obama Were My Patient - A Naturopathic Analysis of President Obamas Health Report
I have just received a copy of President Obama's health report, following his recent check-up 18 months into his presidency. If President Obama was my patient, the first thing I would have said is that I would like to see him every six months rather than every 18 months. Regular check-ups pick-up potential health problems early when they are most easily treated. If President Obama were my patient, the next thing I would scrutinize would be his vitals. The report indicates that Obama is 73 inches tall and weighs 179.9 lbs making his Body Mass Index (BMI) 23.7.
Although this is within the healthy range (18-25), the BMI does not tell the whole story. There is a lesser known measurement, but perhaps more significant metric of health, the waist-to-hip ratio. Relying solely on BMI ignores the fact that many thin people are carrying around unhealthy belly fat. Whereas fat from the buttock and hip is a more protective and beneficial fat, belly fat secretes inflammatory factors, such as cytokines, that produce unnecessary inflammation in the body that ultimately can lead to cardiovascular disease. Additionally, belly fat crowds the internal organs, creating stress on those organs which increase risk of organ hypo-functioning. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy waist-to-hip ratio reduces the risk of Type II Diabetes and heart disease, which is the number one killer of men in the United States. Ideally, the President's waist-to-hip ratio should be around 0.95.
If President Obama were my patient, I would then evaluate his blood pressure. The President's systolic blood pressure was 105 and his diastolic was 62. For reference, the systolic measurement is the pressure during contraction of the heart, while diastolic measures blood pressure when the heart is relaxing. The President's measurement of 105/62 is well below the 120/80 that we like to see and that is good. My only concern is that it is up 15 points from his previous physical. Now, if he stays at 105, I'm happy, however I would continue to closely monitor and if it continues to increase I would take some dietary interventions discussed at the end of this report.
Regarding cholesterol, President Obama's total cholesterol (TC) climbed 32 points to 209, which is above the desirable ranges. It is important to note that total cholesterol is the sum of both the good cholesterol (HDL) and the bad cholesterol (LDL). Therefore, the goal is to raise the good cholesterol (HDL's) while simultaneously lowering the bad cholesterol (LDLs) resulting in a net decrease in the total cholesterol. In scrutinizing President Obama's total cholesterol increase, it's unfortunate to see that his good cholesterol went down 9 points while his bad cholesterol went up 42 points. As a Naturopathic Doctor, I am alarmed at this increase in bad cholesterol. At this point, I wouldn't wait for his cholesterol to get any worse as it is already beyond the acceptable ranges and President Obama is officially in the early stages of heart disease. Therefore, I would immediately implement the dietary interventions listed at the end of this article and retest the cholesterol in four months to determine if more significant changes should be implemented.
President Obama's doctor recommended he quit smoking, which is absolutely essential towards improving his overall health. The President's lungs will immediately begin healing if he quits now and most of the damage he has done to his lungs can still be repaired.
Additionally, the President has been complaining of pain from chronic tendonitis in his left leg. Instead of taking one of the many non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) over the counter medicines (Ibuprofen, Tylenol, Aspirin) that can have harmful effects on the body and deteriorate the stomach lining, I would recommend that President Obama take a more natural approach that would include the diet and lifestyle changes discussed later as well as one of the Naturopathic therapies like homeopathy or hydrotherapy.
Lastly, the President is under an enormous amount of stress and it may be having some deleterious affects on his body. In addition to addressing the specific health concerns discussed above, the President's ability to constructively deal with that stress is going to be crucial to long term health.
Overall, President Obama appears to be in good health but I definitely have some concerns if he does not make some immediate changes to his diet and lifestyle. In his speeches on Health Care Reform he stresses the importance of preventative health and my Health Plan for the President will do just that.
If President Obama was my patient, I would prescribe the following Naturopathic Treatment Plan:
The President should be eating a whole food based diet including 3-4 cups of organic vegetables and 1-2 cups of fruits per day. This will keep the gastro-intestinal system clean and healthy, able to absorb nutrients and anti-oxidants as well as remove harmful toxins for the small and large intestines.
Each of President Obama's meals should contain a high quality animal or plant-based protein. This includes organic grass-fed beef, organic chicken, lamb, etc, as well as nuts, seeds, beans, and many other protein sources. Protein is essential for the body's rebuilding processes including muscle development in addition to supporting all of the body's functions that rely heavily on proteins.
President Obama should consume a moderate (1-2 portions) of whole grains (other than wheat) like barley, quinoa, and brown rice. (Note: I don't recommend wheat simply because most Americans get plenty of wheat whether they know it or not and we need to focus on some of the other whole grains.) Here the President will be getting the benefit of assimilating the minerals and fiber that will help keep his blood pressure and cholesterol levels low.
President Obama should eat one (1) serving of whole oats or two (2) tablespoons of freshly ground flax seed per day. I recommend this to help reverse the affects of his increasingly high cholesterol.
President Obama should eat three meals per day, and he should eat until he is satisfied, not over-eat.
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