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America's 10 Unhealthiest Presidents

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1. Grover Cleveland

22nd President (1885-1889), 24th President (1893-1897)

Obesity: Since childhood, Grover Cleveland was a bit tubbier than average, and his weight problem stuck with him into adult age. At 5'11" and weighing over 250 pounds, Cleveland, the second-heaviest president to date, was nicknamed "Big Steve," and some of his nieces and nephews called him "Uncle Jumbo."

Penchant for food and alcohol: Likely contributing to his obesity was Cleveland's love for rich food and beer. At one point during his 1870 campaign for district attorney of Erie County, New York, Cleveland and his rival agreed to drink only four glasses of beer per day -- only to later decide it was too restrictive an amount.

Cigar smoker: In 1893, Cleveland, a longtime cigar smoker, complained of an ulcer on the roof of his mouth, which later proved to be a carcinoma. Fearing repercussions if word got out, the president arranged for a secret surgery. Doctors removed parts of his upper left jaw and hard palate and considered the operation to be a success, although it left Cleveland's mouth disfigured.

Gout: Cleveland was hampered by gout on his feet for many years, possibly as early as 1885 when he was seen limping at former President Ulysses S. Grant's funeral. Cleveland's condition was likely exacerbated by his heavy drinking, which increases serum uric acid concentrations.

Originally published on, January 2009.

This is an anecdotal compilation, not a scientific list.


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drthan wrote:

Ummm...Where's FDR on this list? polio with paralysis, severe heart disease with CHF due to chronic hypertension, probable metastatic melanoma, severe atherosclerosis. Died shortly into 4th term. A glaring omission maybe due to the fact that his medical records were lost/destroyed.

10/3/2011 11:16:51 PM Report Abuse

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