- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 7, 2002

President Bush, 56, underwent a battery of health tests yesterday and was pronounced in "superior" health, with a heart and lung capacity in the top 1 percent for men his age and in the top 5 percent for men 20 years younger.

After the three-hour annual physical at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, White House physician Dr. Richard Tubb said, "The president is in extraordinary health," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

Seven other doctors, including the team physician for the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics sports teams, said in a four-page report: "The president remains in excellent health and fit for duty. All data suggest that he will remain so for the duration of his presidency."

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Mr. Bush, who runs three miles a day four times a week, works out with weights twice a week for 45 minutes and doesn't drink or smoke (save for an "occasional cigar," according to his fitness report) has a resting heartbeat of just 44 beats per minute.

That number puts him in the same group as many world-class athletes, including four-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Doctors pointed to the low heart rate as a contributing cause in his fainting spell in January, when he choked on a pretzel and passed out, falling off a couch and bruising his lip and cheek.

The exam yesterday also found the president's body-fat percentage unchanged from last year at 14.5 well below the average for men his age, 23.5. His weight dropped slightly .75 of a pound to 189, also excellent for a man his height, exactly 6 feet.

The medical report says Mr. Bush "takes vitamins and an aspirin daily. He does not routinely use prescription medications."

Mr. Bush's blood pressure was 106/70. Doctors said he has had no recurrence of skin growths or polyps since his last physical. During that period, he had four small benign skin growths removed from his face.

The president gave reporters the thumbs up before departing for his 1,600-acre Texas ranch, where he will stay until Sept. 2. But he won't sit still for long; he will travel to 15 cities throughout August to speak about education, the economy and trade.

He travels today to Jackson, Miss., for a speech and a fund-raiser for Rep. Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr., who is seeking a fourth term in the House.

Next week Mr. Bush holds an economic forum in Waco, Texas, where he will bring together government policy-makers, small investors, business ethicists, union members and others "to discuss the economy and talk about the president's agenda for increasing growth," White House spokesman Claire Buchan said.

Later that week, he will travel to Wisconsin, Iowa and South Dakota. The following week, Mr. Bush will travel to Oregon, California and New Mexico, and have Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld at the ranch "to discuss a variety of issues related to defense programs and the budget, transformation of the military to meet 21st century challenges and missile defense," she said.

At the end of August, the president will make a series of day trips with multiple stops, including Oklahoma, Arkansas, Michigan and Pennsylvania. And during his stay in Crawford, Mr. Bush will hold a summit with Mexican President Vicente Fox on Aug 26.

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