How much does being President of the United States age you? Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W Bush's aging rates compared

Clara Guibourg
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Obama in 2009 and 2016

How much does being leader of the free world age you? Quite a lot, as it turns out. (especially if you get caught fondling the intern)

The internet has been buzzing over the difference in Barack Obama’s appearance at his first and last State of the Union speech, a mere seven years apart, with recent photos showing the American president looking tired and remarkably aged.

But it seems he’s not the only US president to be prematurely aged by the weight of responsibility that comes with the job - nor the worst affected.

Previous studies have found that being head of government literally ages you more quickly, with researchers discovering that election to office comes with a markedly increased mortality risk.

Now it’s possible to prove it with facial recognition tools available online. Samuel Bennett fed photos of the past twenty years’ US presidents into Microsoft’s How Old robot to determine their apparent aging rates.

Bill Clinton comes out worst, having aged at nearly three times the natural rate, 2.9 years for every year he served as president.

When he was elected, Clinton was 46 years old but looked no older than 40, according to the facial recognition tool. Eight years later, he looked nearly 64 years old, ten years older than he actually was.

Both George W Bush and Barack Obama have consistently looked slightly younger than their actual age, although Bush did age at a rate of 1.7 years per year.

Obama’s age rate, by comparison, actually looks surprisingly normal. The president has aged at 1.1 years per year in office.