Presidency not a death sentence

America's chief executives tend to outlive their peers

5:25pm, December 6, 2011

Despite the high levels of stress that accompany serving as president of the United States, commanders in chief don’t, in fact, experience a drop in life expectancy, a new study finds. Those who hold the highest office in the land may get a few more gray hairs and wrinkles by the end of their term, but they don’t age at an accelerated rate, suggests sociologist Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“A lot of people are under the false impression that the presidency ages these men faster,” says Olshansky. “But we don’t die from graying hair or wrinkled skin.”
Stress may play a significant role in producing such outward signs of aging, but when it comes to determining longevity, other factors such as wealth and access to quality education and health care are more influential, Olshansky suggests in a study published in the Dec. 7 Journal of the American Medical Association.

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