Obama is healthy, but still smokes - and has a knee problem

Obama is healthy, but still smokes - and has a knee problem

US President Barack Obama was judged Sunday to be in "excellent health" but still smokes too much and suffers from some knee pain, according to his first routine physical examination Sunday since becoming president, dpa reported.

Obama is "fit for duty," White House physician Jeffrey Kuhlman declared after the traditional periodic presidential exam conducted at the National Naval Medical Centre in Bethesda, Maryland, outside the nation's capital.

Kuhlman urged Obama to continue his efforts to quit smoking and recommended "nicotine replacement therapy, self use" - which may have been music for First Lady Michelle's ears after she has launched health initiatives like fighting childhood obesity.

At 48, Obama is known to make spontaneous lunchtime trips to local burger-and-fries establishments, but that practice has also apparently gotten him into trouble. His "bad" - or LDL - cholesterol, was 138, said Kuhlman, higher than the 130 he'd like to see.

High LDL rates can be a forewarning of heart disease, and Obama's has gone up considerably since the 96 in 2008, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Although Obama keeps in shape by playing basketball and golf, he struggles with pain in his left knee, identified as "chronic tendonitis."

To address the problem, the president was recommended to continue his exercise regimen to strenghten his "lower" extremities. He also will continue "non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication," Kuhlman wrote in the report released by the White House.

Other vital statistics: Obama has 20/20 vision, weighs 82 kg and has a resting heart rate of 56, with low blood pressure.

Obama is in such good health that he won't have to return for another routine exam until August 2011, after he turns 50, Kulhman said.

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