By Dr. Brian McDonoughSponsored By Independence Blue Cross

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One of the most important things about information surrounding the health of politicians and celebrities is the fact that their own health concerns can raise awareness for others in the population.

Whether it was President Reagan battling Alzheimer’s disease, or David Bowie dying from liver cancer, our fascination with celebrities allows physician educators like myself to use these unfortunate incidents to help others.

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Last week, there was a great deal of controversy over whether or not President Trump had his accurate height and weight released so he would not be labeled obese based on BMI measurements.

Whether or not the president is obese is not that important for the nation’s health, but what is important is the discussion that obesity can cut life expectancy dramatically.

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For instance, if you are 40 years old and you are in the obese category, you reduce your life expectancy by a year.

Another way of looking at it is, by controlling obesity we can prevent 186,000 deaths every year.

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The president has been asked to increase exercise and change his diet. Ideally, he can achieve this goal for himself, but what really matters is if he can serve as a weight loss example for the rest of us, whether he is listed as obese or not.