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(2016) How healthy is Donald Trump?
02:08 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Trump has revealed less than Clinton about his health

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on language in Trump letter: 'Very unusual'

Trump credits energetic rallies for keeping him fit

CNN  — 

As Donald Trump and his allies attempt to raise dubious questions over Hillary Clinton’s health, the Republican nominee has invited new scrutiny into his own medical history.

Like Clinton, Trump has released minimal information, most notably in the form of a December 2015 letter of a few paragraphs from his personal physician, a gastroenterologist, that described his blood pressure and lab results as “astonishingly excellent” while suggesting a President Trump would be the “healthiest individual ever elected.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, found much of that language surprising and, in some cases, almost comically lacking in objective data.

“I don’t even know what to make of this letter,” he told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield on Tuesday. “Whether you are a doctor or not, that degree of hyperbole and these words being used is very unusual. People don’t write like that. … ‘Strength and stamina are extraordinary’ – what does that mean, exactly?”

Even Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday that Trump should disclose his current medical history, as he referred to both Trump and Clinton as “elderly.”

“I think that somebody who is running for president of the United States, particularly if they’re elderly, and that would include both major candidates, should disclose their medical history. And I’m not talking about from a year ago or two years ago. I’m talking about currently,” Carson said.

“Anybody who is elderly should expose their records and we, the people, should know what they are. It’s a very stressful job. It’s not an eight hour a day job. it’s 24/7 and we need to make sure it’s taken care of.”

Neither the Trump campaign nor Dr. Harold Bornstein, his physician, responded to requests for comment.

Trump, at age 70, would be the oldest man to assume the presidency if elected in November, about eight months senior to Ronald Reagan when he was first sworn-in more than 35 years ago. But both he and Clinton, according to a federal life expectancy model from 2013, are statistically likely to live comfortably through and beyond potential second terms in the White House, well into their 80s.

There is little in Trump’s personal medical history or lifestyle to suggest he is disproportionately disposed to future risks.

His status as a teetotaler has been well-documented, going back decades. Dr. Bornstein in his letter wrote that Trump had never used alcohol or tobacco, an assertion backed by the candidate’s own statements and independent reporting.

Biographer Michael D’Antonio wrote in his book, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success,” that the young mogul during his time as an undergrad at Fordham had set himself apart “by his refusal to drink or smoke cigarettes, let alone experiment with the drugs that were increasingly evident on American campuses.”

More recently, the candidate has openly professed and displayed his affection for fast food – though in moderation.

At a CNN town hall in February, he spoke glowingly of McDonald’s (“great stuff”) and KFC (“not the worst thing in the world”), while assuring viewers his burger diet was “very carefully” calibrated. He has posted images to social media showing him eating both while aboard his private jet.

In a December Q&A with People Magazine, Trump said that, unlike what so many others have experienced, he had actually “lost 15 lbs. on the campaign trail.”

“One of the reasons,” he explained, “is that I have big crowds” and that entertaining them “is almost a form of exercise.”

“I could see how it could go the other way for some people,” he added. “(But) that’s only because their events are boring.”

But a New York Times story published Monday suggested that his luck had not extended into 2016, saying it was the “the opinion of some friends of Mr. Trump that he has gained weight recently.”

In the past, Trump has cited golf as his main avenue for keeping fit.

“I used to play all sports. I was always a good athlete. I was always the captain of my teams,” he told Men’s Health in 2013, adding that as he’s aged, there have been more long walks and golf outings.

“When I play a few rounds on the weekend, I’ll come in Monday morning and I’ll have lost three or four pounds,” he said. “That’s very pleasurable exercise, and it keeps you away from the refrigerator because you’re out on the course.”

Clinton, who says she tries to keep up a yoga routine on the trail, has struck a relaxed pose when questioned about Trump and the conspiracy theories surrounding her own health.

“As far as I can tell,” she deadpanned to Jimmy Kimmel on Monday, “he is as healthy as a horse.”