The health of a president can change the attitude of a nation -- or the course, if he dies. Take a look at how healthy some of our past leaders were.
The inhabitant of this house, the leader of the nation, has sometimes been a man in excellent health; at other times, he's been someone with a constant need of doctors.
John F. Kennedy (1961-1964) and his family projected a hale-and-hearty image, but the president had severe back problems and Addison's disease -- an adrenal failure -- which required frequent pills and injections. He was said to have received last rites four times as an adult.
William H. Taft (1909-1913) was a teetotaler, but he had hypertension, digestive complications, severe obesity and numerous cases of food poisoning. He lost 80 pounds after leaving the White House.
George W. Bush (2001-2009) ran an average of 12 miles every week throughout most of 2001. A torn meniscus caused him to cut back on his running, so he favored long-distance cycling instead.
Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) had a list of ailments including malaria, severe frostbite, smallpox and marfanism, which attributed to his unusual physique. Some reported that he also had syphilis.
Millard Fillmore (1850-1853) neither smoked nor drank. He abhorred gambling, which was unfashionable at the time. Instead, Fillmore indulged in mild foods and milk.
Woodrow Wilson (1915-1921) suffered three devastating strokes in his lifetime, one of which left him disabled. He also had remarkably rotten teeth.
James Polk (1845-1849) was so meticulous that he even exercised his handshake. This president wasn't going to miss a day of work over a case of "politics wrist."
John Adams (1797-1801) was notorious for being constantly ill and depressed. He was eventually prescribed a diet of milk and toast, which he followed for more than 14 years.
Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929) slept an astonishing 11 hours every day while he was in the White House. It may have been a habit or a symptom of depression.
William Harrison (1841) died of pneumonia a month after giving a two-hour inaugural address in the pouring rain.
Rutherford Hayes (1877-1881) credited himself with abolishing alcohol, tobacco and profanity from the White House.
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