What could be the cause?

The Drudge Report‘s top headline today draws attention to President Barack Obama‘s exceedingly thin appearance. From the brief story:

“Rigorous workouts and high-stress basketball games are said to be behind the dramatic weight loss.  ‘No, he’s not chain smoking,’ claims an insider. ‘He’s working non-stop for the country…yes, he does occasionally skip meals.'”

So, apparently the official story at this point is:

  • Rigorous workouts
  • High-stress basketball games
  • “Working non-stop for the country”
  • Occasionally skipping meals

r1035210477I’ll buy that. But let’s dig a little deeper. No doubt Obama’s personal schedule has changed dramatically since the time he started campaigning full-time for the presidency, and again upon becoming president.

When I was younger, I took a night shift job stocking shelves at a local grocery store. It may not have been the only factor, but I definitely lost weight as the dramatic change in schedule and the unusual hours affected my metabolism, eating schedule and more. This is simply a personal anecdote and speculation; but it certainly seems reasonable to me that long working hours and a more demanding and unusual schedule could be a contributing factor to the president’s gaunt physique.

Also, I could be over-analyzing but I found it interesting that the source said that the president is not “chain-smoking.” He did not say he’s not smoking. “Chain-smoking” generally refers to the practice of lighting one cigarette after another, often even using the former to spark the latter. Just because someone is not “chain-smoking” does not mean they might not be heavily smoking. The source did not rule that out. I’m not attempting to suggest that smoking is the cause of this apparent weight loss, but merely wondering if it could be.

Rigorous workouts. Sure. “High-stress” basketball games. Fine. (Although, that seems an odd way to describe scrimmages on the hard court. “Intense,” maybe, but “high-stress?”). Occasionally skipping meals? Okay. Probably not a good thing, but fair enough. And, as discussed above, a demanding and sometimes unusual schedule.

Could there be additional or alternative explanations for the president’s weight loss? I’d be interested to hear ideas or suggestions, particularly from anybody in the field of nutrition or other human sciences.

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