Is the President's BMI BS?


By Jay Olshansky | January 19, 2018  Last week, President Trump had his official physical. The results, by every reported measure, were outstanding. His doctor even went so far as to say that if Trump ate healthily, he could live to 200. While that won't happen (the world longevity record is 122), using a science-based assessment tool used to evaluate the President’s risk factors (called Chronos), my colleagues and I have estimated his lifespan to be 87.8 years – 2.7 years longer than the average American man his age. The President’s advantage is his wealth, education, and access to the best health care in the world.

One element of the President’s medical report got our attention – his reported Body Mass Index (BMI) listed as 29.9 (formally defined as overweight). This was based on a reported height of 6’3” and a weight of 239 lbs. His listed height was 1” taller than the number reported on his driver’s license. Since people get shorter with age, this seemed implausible.

 As a way to independently assess risk factors for disease and longevity, new technologies have been developed (based on artificial intelligence) that now make it possible to calculate BMI, age, gender, and smoking status – using nothing more than a photograph of the face. This technology is rapidly spreading through the insurance world, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a standard practice. I co-founded the company [] with another scientist (Dr. Karl Ricanek -- who developed the field of facial analytics) that invented this AI technology. The President’s medical report provides us with a unique opportunity to test this technology (called a face analyzer).

 According to our analysis, President Trump's estimated BMI based on his face is 32 (obese). The range of error is now 3 points on either side of the estimate, which means his true BMI is actually between 29 – 35. For skeptics, we calculated his gender correctly, and we were extremely close on his age. As we put more photos into the database, the range of error of our face analyzer gets tighter (e.g., smaller). If you want to try the face analyzer yourself, please use this link:

 Michael was skeptical of President Trump’s reported weight of 239. If our BMI estimation is correct at 32, his actual weight would have to be closer to 249 lbs. at a height of 6’3”. If he is closer to 6’1”, which seems likely given that people shrink with age, his true weight today with a BMI of 32 would be 245 lbs. The evidence from this AI technology suggests that it’s likely that President Trump is technically obese.  Whether the President is obese or overweight, the message is the same for him and most Americans – we would all benefit from losing a few pounds.

 If you'd like to calculate your BMI, you can go here

Dr. Olshansky is a professor of public health at the University of Illinois Chicago and is the founder of Lapetus Solutions. If you'd like to reach him or his team, please email  or