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Live from Abu Dhabi Connect the World takes you on a journey across continents, investigating the stories that are changing our world.

Politicians and Fitness

July 27th, 2009
04:55 PM ET

They're all at it!

Barack Obama's been doing it very publicly. British PM Gordon Brown's certainly at it and today we learn that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's been hospitalized for it.

What is it about today's Western leaders and their insistence on keeping in shape?

It seems Sarkozy has recovered his breath after collapsing while jogging Sunday in woodlands near his weekend home. But it does make me wonder whether keeping fit is a prerequisite for the demands of high office these days or whether it isn't simply good for the "brand"! Soon after Obama was elected president, the Washington Post newspaper wondered out loud whether the new job had forced the man to take inventory of his life: "... gone are the hours he once spent reading novels, watching television and obsessing over the daily transactions of Chicago's sports teams ... but one habit endures: Obama has gone to the gym, for about 90 minutes a day, for at least 48 days in a row." Ok, so stripping his schedule down to the bear essentials is nothing new for Obama.

However, don't tell me that Gordon naturally puts pilates ahead of public policy! And yet, the burly British PM, whose New Year's resolution was to get fitter, has moaned that newspaper cartoonists always draw him as a hulking man and has taken to low impact exercise to improve his core strength and battle the bulge.

And then there's Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. Apparently anxious to lose a little weight, "Papa" invited guests for a so-called week on an empty stomach. This involved seven days on a high-protein and vitamin-rich diet, meditation, studying classical literature, and plenty of sport – tennis, swimming and lots of jogging. And the rest Silvio. . .

Asked what he did for exercise, Winston Churchill once replied: "Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, I sit down and wait until the urge passes."

Do our leaders really need to be so public about how fit they are?! I want to hear from you. As ever leave your comments below or email me at ConnectTheWorld@CNN.com

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Filed under:  General