The Sciences

Is Newt Gingrich too fat to be president?

Gene ExpressionBy Razib KhanDec 8, 2011 4:17 AM

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More Kris Kringle than Mr. President

Newt Gingrich is high in the polls right now. I'm moderately skeptical of the persistence of this surge, though I'm biased since I'm rooting for Mitt Romney (and Ron Paul, though he has no chance) in the Republican field. But in any case, I keep seeing Newt's face in news reports, and something is off. That's because we haven't had a fat president in a long time

. About 90 years. In fact, as the American population has gotten heavier, the heads of state have gotten thinner

(on average). This came to the fore when people were mulling Chris Christie's potential run

. Of course in politics the sample size is small enough that trends are trends until they're not. As you can see from presidential portraits we hadn't had any black presidents until recently. Newt would be the first twice-divorced president. And the second with a Ph.D. Image credit: Gage Skidmore

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