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Gary Johnson Is Probably The Healthiest Candidate For President

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson talks to a crowd of supporters at an August rally in Salt Lake City.
George Frey
Getty Images
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson talks to a crowd of supporters at an August rally in Salt Lake City.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump released their medical records earlier this month, and now it's Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson's turn to boast that he is "extremely physically fit."

The letter from the former New Mexico governor's physician, Dr. Lyle B. Amer of Santa Fe, explains that the 63-year-old Johnson's "decades of dedication to physical fitness, diet, no drinking, and no smoking have paid dividends as far as his current extraordinarily good health at this time of his life." (We'll come back to that smoking line.)

And while Trump's doctor once boasted that the GOP nominee would "be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency," it might be Johnson who could claim that mantle if his long-shot bid were to succeed.

Johnson has run 17 marathons, four Ironman Triathlons, is an active rock climber, and has climbed the seven highest summits on every continent, including Mount Everest (just after breaking a leg!). His doctor writes that Johnson, who weighs 172 pounds and has normal blood pressure and pulse, exercises about an hour a day. Before campaigning for president though, he would exercise approximately two hours a day.

Trump, in contrast, weighs 236 pounds and admitted when he discussed his medical records on The Dr. Oz Show that he doesn't exercise much (though he said he believed "moving his hands around" as he was campaigning counted) and has an affinity for fast food.

Johnson has celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder where he can't ingest gluten, so he adheres to a gluten-free diet. He doesn't take any medications (Trump takes cholesterol medication while Clinton takes medicines for her thyroid and to prevent blood clots). Johnson's doctor does recommend he begin taking a vitamin D supplement along with aspirin to prevent heart disease.

Amer also writes that Johnson's "prostate is smooth, nontender, normal for his age," he has no arthritis, his liver is normal and that his "left big toe has scarring from a frostbite incident years ago."

While Johnson's doctor says he doesn't smoke cigarettes and hasn't drunk alcohol since 1987, the pro-marijuana-legalization candidate is famous for partaking in the drug; he said earlier this summer he has abstained from smoking while he is running for the White House. The letter from his physician doesn't address that drug use, and a call to his doctor's office wasn't answered.

Johnson's path to the White House is an uphill one, even with voters frustrated with their choices of Trump or Clinton. But he has made several foreign policy flubs recently that may have made that climb even more difficult, blanking this week on a foreign leader he admires. Earlier this month, he also wasn't aware what Aleppo was — the Syrian city at the center of the country's civil war.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jessica Taylor is a political reporter with NPR based in Washington, DC, covering elections and breaking news out of the White House and Congress. Her reporting can be heard and seen on a variety of NPR platforms, from on air to online. For more than a decade, she has reported on and analyzed House and Senate elections and is a contributing author to the 2020 edition of The Almanac of American Politics and is a senior contributor to The Cook Political Report.