At age 47, Barack Obama is one of the younger presidents in U.S. history (he's the 5th youngest to be exact). But, according to an article in today's Washington Post, he's starting to age before his time. Judging from recent appearances, it's clear that President Obama's hair is starting to gray significantly. Although it's true that presidents seem to age rather quickly while in office, he's only held the position a mere six weeks. The article points out, however, that the fast-aging process seems to have started as soon as he hit the campaign trail.
What is it about being president that has such an effect on the body? This seems like a prime case for the X-Files' Fox Mulder to investigate -- does the Oval Office cause people to experience what he calls "missing time?" In lieu of Mulder's expertise, I came across a video that provides before-and-after pictures as well as a rational (more Scully-like) explanation.
According to the aging expert, Dr. Michael Roizan, a sitting president ages at twice the normal rate of an average person. As you may have guessed, stress is the most likely culprit. Temporary, day-to-day stresses that flow and ebb don't wear us down like constant, unending stresses that presidents experience for their entire term in office. On top of that, Dr. Roizan suggests that a president has fewer reliefs as he loses the ability to vent and confide in close friends.
After researching available health data for older presidents, Dr. Roizan found some scary facts. For instance, the pressure of presidency gave men like Eisenhower higher blood pressure by the time they left office. Take a look at the news interview with Roizan in which he explains his theories: