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August 5, 1961

THE HEALTH OF THE PRESIDENTS

JAMA. 1961;177(5):324-325. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040310042008
Abstract

As the items are reviewed that concern the physical well-being of the Presidents of our country, one concludes that they were a sturdy lot when compared with their contemporaries or with current morbidity data. The assassin was successful in his assault upon Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley. Attempts were made by would-be assassins upon the lives of four others, two while out of office. The commonest nonfatal afflictions were "dysentery" and malaria, attributed to the widespread incidence of these maladies in the 19th century as well as to the swampy land about the White House—a breeding ground for the anopheles. John Hay dubbed the official residence, "The White Pesthouse." In spite of the inevitable harrassments of the job and the responsibilities borne by a President, Harding was the only incumbent to die from myocardial infarction while in office. Calvin Coolidge, Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland, and Rutherford B. Hayes probably were afflicted

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