Not only is it a position of great responsibility, but it also has harmful effects on health.
The general elections from which the next president of the Kingdom of Spain will be elected are just around the corner, and four are the candidates running as heads of government.
But Mariano Rajoy, Pablo Iglesias, Albert Rivera and Pedro Sánchez should pay attention to the following lines, as recent research seems to indicate that becoming president of a nation shortens life.
Does being president shorten life expectancy?
So, since only one of the four can win the election, those who are not fortunate enough to be elected as the highest representatives of the executive branch will have at least one reason to smile.
It is not the first study in this line of research
There has been a debate for a long time as to whether presidents of the government have less life expectancy, and science has carried out different investigations to confirm or disprove this hypothesis. For example, one study found that presidents age twice as fast as non-presidents. On the other hand, another study did not find any type of relationship between premature aging and the position of head of government.
Anyway, it is enough to see some photos of presidents of the government at the beginning and the end of their terms to realize that their physical deterioration is evident. One of the most talked about cases is that of the former socialist president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. In the image on the left, the president of the eyebrow with 48 years. On the right, 55 years old (current photo). Doesn’t it seem like more time has passed?
Recently, this new research has brought this debate back to the table. To do this, it has examined the electoral processes carried out in 17 countries from 1722 to 2015. The results seem to indicate that the presidents of the government live an average of 2.7 years less and experience a 23% greater risk of suffering a premature death than the person which is at the head of the opposition. Presidents like Barak Obama or Rafael Correa should take note of these results.
A study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ)
The research appears in a special Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Its Christmas edition of each year has strange themes, but that, despite this, have a solid scientific basis.
“We are certain that there are differences between the mortality of presidents of the state and that of their rivals, that is to say that heads of government age faster”, says Anupam Jena, author of the study and professor at Harvard University and the Hospital Massachusetts General (United States). The study also featured Andrew Olesku, a researcher at the same university, and Matthew Abola, a medical student at Case Western Reserve University.
The authors did something new with respect to past research
Although it is not a new topic, the authors of the research did something different to quantify the hypothesis, as it is difficult to verify. Instead of comparing a president or prime minister with the general population, they compared the data of presidents with their opponents. This was done because if we compare the presidents, who are usually people of high social status, with the rest of the people, there could be a significant bias, that is, the results obtained would not be significant.
In addition, the researchers also broadened their focus by comparing the heads of government of 17 relatively stable countries in Western democracies, rather than limiting the study to US presidents. It is important to note that the researchers did not take into account dictators, but democratically elected presidents. It is clear, but that it should also be verified with presidents of other continents, such as Latin Americans or Asians.
The cause could be the stress suffered by presidents
The authors of the study acknowledged that n or could find the exact reasons why presidents do not live as long as their rivals. But stress may be the cause. “Their hectic schedule and work pace makes it difficult for presidents to lead a healthy lifestyle. It is difficult for them to carry out a routine of healthy eating and physical exercise ”concludes Anupam Jena.
Being a politician can be a very taxing job. Continuous travel, problems affecting an entire country, continuous exposure to the public eye, etc. Therefore, being president of the government can have its good things, but it is also a very great responsibility, which can become stressful.