The White House doctor deemed Donald Trump in “excellent” health this week. The president passed a cognitive test, and the White House announced that Trump is 75 inches tall — six feet, three inches — and weighs 239 pounds. That weight is, if you are the sort of person who is inclined to believe in BMI as an accurate indicator of health, just barely shy of “obese.”
On Twitter, people were quick to question Trump’s physical results. “People” included MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, who offered up the term “girther” as a description of anybody skeptical of the president’s purported measurements, which quickly became a hashtag used by anybody sharing pictures of Trump next to somebody else who reportedly weighs 239 pounds. James Gunn offered to donate $100,000 to “Trump’s favorite charity” if the president would publicly step on a scale. Mostly, it was just a lot of pictures of Trump compared to pictures of tall dudes in very good shape.
There’s a whole lot that could be going on here. It’s certainly possible that the White House fudged the numbers on Trump’s weight. But it’s more likely that Trump actually weighs 239 pounds, and comparing him to the 239-pound bodies of professional athletes is just skewing perceptions. Muscle, as the saying goes, weighs more than fat. It’s possible for the same amount of pounds to look very different on different bodies. BMI is considered absolute nonsense by many in the health industry, anyway.
Still, there is something to be said for the fact that the president, a 71-year-old man, appears to have grown an inch since 2012.