Biden Deemed ‘Healthy, Active, Robust’ During Annual Physical Exam

washington — U.S. President Joe Biden’s is a “healthy, active, robust 81-year-old male who remains fit to successfully execute the duties of the presidency,” his physician, Dr. Kevin O’Connor, said in a statement released by the White House on Wednesday, following Biden’s annual physical examination. 

“The president feels well, and this year’s physical identified no new concerns. He continues to be fit for duty and fully executes all of his responsibilities without any exemptions or accommodations,” O’Connor said following Biden’s visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, earlier Wednesday.  

The checkup included consultations with optometry, dentistry, orthopedics, physical therapy, neurology, sleep medicine, cardiology, radiology and dermatology specialists, O’Connor said.  

It’s Biden’s third physical since taking office, amid concerns about his age as he seeks a second term.  

“They think I look too young,” Biden joked to reporters at the White House after his checkup. “There is nothing different than last year,” he said.

According to the summary, Biden is currently being treated for several conditions, including obstructive sleep apnea, gastroesophageal reflux, seasonal allergies, arthritis and sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet. He also has atrial fibrillation with normal ventricular response, a type of asymptomatic irregularity of the heartbeat.  

His doctor pronounced his conditions as “stable and well-controlled,” with “three common prescription medications and three common over-the-counter medications.”  

The symptoms were similar to those described in Biden’s 2023 physical exam report that noted the president’s “stiff gait,” due to “a combination of significant spinal arthritis, mild post-fracture foot arthritis and a mild sensory peripheral neuropathy of the feet,” and “occasional symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux,” that made him have to clear his throat often.     

President didn’t undergo cognitive test 

Recent events have highlighted Biden’s potential age-related issues, including the president being described in a special counsel report as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”      

In pushing back on reporters’ questions about his age, Biden insisted that his “memory is fine” but shortly after mistakenly referred to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi as the president of Mexico. That and two other mistaken references to world leaders’ names in recent weeks fueled further attacks by his rivals.     

Responding to reporters’ questions during her briefing on Wednesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Biden did not undergo a cognitive test as part of his physical because the president’s physician, “doesn’t believe that he needs one.” 

As president, Biden passes a cognitive test “every day,” Jean-Pierre underscored. 

A poll by the George Washington University shows 35% of respondents say Biden was in good enough physical health to serve effectively as president, and 38% said he has the mental soundness to serve effectively as president.  

This is lower that what respondents say about the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump, who is four years younger. For Trump, the numbers are 54% and 46%, respectively. 

“These figures indicate that this is a big problem for Biden,” Todd Belt, professor of politics at George Washington University, told VOA. “The campaign has changed course to attack Trump on his vulnerabilities on the mental soundness issue.” 

Biden did exactly that during an appearance on a late-night television show earlier this week, by referencing a video in which Trump appeared to forget his wife’s name.  

Americans concerned about Biden’s age

Trump was 70 when he took office in 2017, which made him the oldest American president to be inaugurated until Biden broke his record at 78 in 2021. The former president has also made blunders, including praising Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban for his leadership of Turkey, and confusing his Republican rival, Nikki Haley, with former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.   

A February ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted after the release of the special counsel report indicated concerns among 59% of Americans regarding the age and capability for a second term for both candidates, although more Americans are worried about Biden compared with Trump, said Clifford Young, president of Ipsos Public Affairs.   

“Age is an Achilles’ heel, is an anchor for Biden,” Young told VOA. “It was four years ago. Without a doubt, it will be this year.”   

Though not publicly announced in advance, the timing of Biden’s physical was anticipated, given the increasing focus on his age and health in the context of his reelection campaign ahead of the November election. 

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