Obama's cholesterol count blamed on desserts
Poll results, congressional head counts and U.S. government deficits are not the only numbers President Barack Obama has to worry about. Now, he's trying to walk off a marginally high cholesterol count.
Although Obama took the presidential motorcade to a speech Monday, he decided to walk back to the White House through a park. A day earlier, his doctor recommended that he lower his cholesterol.
The president told reporters he needed to "make sure that I'm walking off some of that cholesterol. That's a year of campaigning right there."
Obama had a physical exam Sunday and learned that his total cholesterol and so-called bad, or LDL, cholesterol had both spiked into the borderline high range since his last reported exam in 2007.
The culprit, according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, is too many cheeseburgers and desserts, a surprising revelation given Obama's reputation as a health nut.
"You guys thought he carried arugula in his pocket to snack on," Gibbs joked with reporters Monday.
Gibbs chalked up the president's sweet tooth to easy access now that Obama has a kitchen staff and a pastry chef at his disposal.
"If it's more available, you're more likely to eat it," Gibbs said, adding that the president remains a big fan of the pastry chef and hasn't ordered a menu change at the White House.
Sunday's physical, Obama's first as commander-in-chief, also revealed that the president has not kicked his smoking habit. Obama has talked about his struggles to quit smoking in the past, and Gibbs said the president does occasionally fall off the wagon.
Still, Gibbs said Obama is aware of the example he sets for America's youth.
"He understands that what he struggles with is not a good thing for his children to see or anybody's children to see," Gibbs said.