These 10 Images Show the Big Toll the Presidency Has Had on Barack Obama
President Barack Obama is known to be a pretty active guy. Despite serving as the Commander-in-Chief, he still manages to stay in shape, getting in a daily workout and finding time for golf and basketball games when his schedule allows.
Though Obama entered the presidency as a relatively young man — he was 47 years old at the time — the office has clearly taken its toll on him. Now, at 55, you can see the physical effects of the job. His hair is graying, his face is wrinkling, and he doesn’t quite have the same spring in his step as he did in 2009. Of course, time takes its toll no matter what. But when you throw in the incredible stress of the presidency and combine it with a chronic sleep deprivation, the effects can be magnified.
Stress, sleep loss, and Barack Obama
We’ve talked about the importance of sleep before. Experts say that you need at least six to eight hours of sleep per night — and that means some quality slumbering, not merely lying in bed, tossing and turning. This is hard enough for the average adult, but for the President? You can forget about a normal schedule.
According to reports, Obama typically sleeps between five and six hours per night, assuming there’s no ongoing crisis. Given all those hours of sleep lost and an incredible amount of stress, we’ve assembled a number of photos from Obama’s career that show how his aging process has been accelerated.
2004: Senator Barack Obama
This photo, from 2004, shows the Obama family as they await results from his campaign for the United States Senate. Though it was only 12 years ago, Obama is full of youth and energy. This is a good starting point to see just how big of an impact a career in politics can have on your physical appearance.
President Obama was sworn into office for his first term on January 20th, 2009. In this photo, he is showing a bit of his age; at least more so than when he was running for his Senate seat four years prior. Still, a youthful Obama entered the office looking spry and energetic.
2009: Year one
It’s hard to imagine a President facing a tougher first year than Obama did in 2009, with the country in a deep recession, and also dealing with a financial crisis and multiple wars overseas. Still, he made it through looking pretty good, all things considered.
2010: Year two
Come 2010, the President still had it. As you can see from the photo above, Obama was still looking fairly young after a couple of years in office. But time would soon start to take its toll.
2011: Year three
Come 2011, you can start to see the gray hair coming in, and a little less enthusiasm in Obama’s eyes. Contrast this photo with the one from 2004, and you’ll see there’s a big difference in just seven years.
By the time Obama was at his second inauguration, the wrinkles and gray hair were in full-effect. He still had the youthful edge on his Republican opponent Mitt Romney, but it’s clear that the stress and lack of sleep were setting in by 2012.
2013: Year five
In this photo, you can really see how the energy has been drained from Obama’s face. Of course, there are plenty of pictures out there of him looking more lively, but the lines, creases, gray hair, and sunken eyes show that the man is engaged in an accelerated aging process.
2014: Year six
The same thing continued into 2014. Go back and compare this photo to the one from 2009 or 2004 if you need to see the contrast.
2015: Year seven
The President simply looks tired in this photo. Compared to a few years back, his face is skinnier, he appears a bit frailer, and he lacks the color he had during his earlier years in office. Given that he had, by this time, been the President for seven years, it’s not that surprising.
2016: the final year
Finally, we reach 2016 — Obama’s last year in office. He’s still surprisingly energetic and has a youthful edge to him that few of his predecessors possessed. But he’s also only 55 years old, compared to Ronald Reagan, for example, who was 77 when he left the Oval Office.
Clearly, the job has taken its toll on Obama. It’ll be interesting to see how his appearance changes after some time away from the Presidency, as he’ll have plenty of time to catch a long nap and de-stress. It’s hard to imagine a tougher job than being the President of the United States, and if you needed proof of the job’s rigors and demands, just look at what it did to Obama over the course of eight years.