The Oval Office Effect: How Stress Ages Presidents

By David Noonan

As Barack Obama embarks on another four years in what is arguably the toughest job on the planet, the Washington Post offers a chilling look at how the stress of being President takes its toll and changes the appearance of the men who hold the office. Side-by-side photographs and a time-lapse video of President Obama document the accelerated aging he’s undergone since 2009. The strains of the office are especially evident in his eyes, which look bright and assured in a January 2009 photo, but deep and burdened in a December 2012 shot.

Before and after photos of other presidents, including George W. Bush and Abraham Lincoln, confirm the impact of the “Oval Office Effect.”