Clinton, Trump health records take center stage: 5 developments and observations

The physical health of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has catapulted to the forefront of issues in the election cycle. Here are five developments and observations on the topic of presidential candidates' health.

1. The health of the candidates has become a token of transparency in this campaign. The Clinton-Trump race is the oldest in the history of U.S. presidential elections. Mr. Trump is 70 years old, and would be the oldest candidate to ever take office if he wins. Ms. Clinton is 68 going on 69 years old, and would be the second oldest candidate to take office if she wins, after Ronald Reagon, according to The Washington Post. But the fervor around health records has surpassed more than just the practical need to know if the candidates would collapse in the Oval Office. It has now become an issue of trustworthiness in an election cycle characterized by issues of reliability and transparency. In fact, nearly 60 percent of voters believe the candidates should release their medical records — up from 38 percent who felt this was an issue in 2014.

2. Media reports now say Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton have been more secretive about personal health than in times past — which has sparked conspiracy theories and diagnoses from afar. Until recently, voters were expected to be content knowing that Ms. Clinton could open a jar of pickles and that Mr. Trump had "astonishingly excellent" lab test results. However, Ms. Clinton's recent stumble out of the 9/11 memorial event and pneumonia diagnosis has led to conspiracy theories that she uses a body double, according to The Washington Post. Doubts surrounding the legitimacy of Mr. Trump's physician, Harold Bornstein, MD, surfaced in August when he said in an interview he wrote the letter about the candidates' health in five minutes, according to The Washington Post.

3. The issue of personal health and transparency has also shone a light on the ease of sharing medical records. A report in The New York Times discusses how the lack of connectivity is a major obstacle in accessing and curating an individual's full medical records. Though both candidates have promised more information, it remains unclear if they will share their medical histories, or simply the results of a recent physical.

4. After information was released Sunday on Ms. Clinton's pneumonia diagnosis, her campaign said it plans to release more medical records this week. Ms. Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia last Friday, but the campaign did not make the diagnosis public until Sunday after she had to leave a 9/11 memorial ceremony early and was caught on tape stumbling into her motorcade. Her aides admitted they should have been more forthcoming with the information, according to The New York Times, and the move to release more records could be an attempt to quell concerns about the candidates' overall vitality.

5. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has been uncharacteristically mum about Ms. Clinton's health issues, and instead plans to share more details about his health. Mr. Trump has a planned appearance on The Dr. Oz Show Thursday, in which he will discuss his "personal health regimen." He also said Monday he had a physical and plans to release the results as soon as possible, according to CNN. "This last week, I took a physical, and I'll be releasing, when the numbers come in, hopefully they are going to be good. I think they are going to be good, I feel great, but when the numbers come in, I'll be releasing very specific numbers," Mr. Trump said, according to the report. However, Mr. Trump will not share the results of his physical on The Dr. Oz Show, according to a report from The Hill. Instead, the interview will cover general health issues and Mr. Trump's fitness, and it will not touch on anything Mr. Trump does not want to talk about, according to the report.

Editor's note: This article was updated Sept. 14 at 10:30 a.m. CT to reflect additional information about Mr. Trump's appearance on The Dr. Oz Show.  


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