Joe Biden More Likely to Survive 4-Year Term Than Trump, 'Super-Ager' Study Finds

Both President Donald Trump, 74, and former Vice President Joe Biden, 77, are "super-agers" overwhelmingly likely to live beyond their mid-80s—but a new study finds Biden has a higher probability of outliving his younger opponent.

The age and mental acuity of both septuagenarian presidential candidates became a campaign talking point almost immediately after Biden, who would be the oldest president to ever take office, joined the 2020 race against Trump, who is currently the oldest U.S. president to enter office. A new study published in September's Journal on Active Aging draws on publicly available medical records, family disease history and confirmed personal information to determine how ageism and longevity have factored into the election.

Neither candidate is projected to have major cognitive functioning challenges now or over the next four years, despite critical campaign rhetoric claiming otherwise.

The study's lead author, Bradley Wilcox, M.D., of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, told Newsweek Saturday evening that three coronary calcium scans of Trump's heart shows he is, ironically, three years older than his actual age. But "sub-clinical" evidence of underlying coronary artery disease and his obesity places Trump's Friday coronavirus diagnosis under dire terms. Wilcox told Newsweek Trump has had three cardiac CT scans with scores which have steadily increased over recent years and the "half-a-dozen medications" he's receiving at Walter Reed hospital are of major concern. Wilcox noted this is tied to major heart attacks and sudden death.

Biden has a slight arrhythmia common of his age and is taking an anti-coagulant.

Biden, who will turn 78 just days after the November 3 election, has a 95.2 percent probability of surviving a four-year term in office, compared to Trump at 90.3 percent, according to the study data.

The study authors say both candidates are "super-agers" who are overwhelmingly likely to maintain their health far beyond the end of the next term. Their findings suggest age should not be a factor in voters' decisions at the ballot box despite both being well positioned to break all previous records as the oldest president in U.S. history.

"Both candidates appear to be on course to become 'super-agers,' men and women who live into their eighties or longer, with preserved physical and cognitive function," said co-author Bradley Willcox, director of research at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa's Department of Geriatric Medicine at the John A. Burns School of Medicine. "They face lower than average risk of experiencing significant health or cognitive functioning challenges during the next four years."

Wilcox told Newsweek that while Biden has a record of a slight ar

"when you peek under the hood" Trump ... arteries three years older than his age

Using data tied to genetics, social risk factors and behavioral patterns, Biden is expected to outlive Trump despite being three years older than the president. Each candidate's parents lived beyond their mid-80s, with Biden's father living to be 87 and his mother to 93 years of age. Trump's mother lived to be 88 and his father lived to be 94 years old.

"The results are evidence that age does not matter in this historic election in which the next elected president will be the oldest in American history," said corresponding study author Stuart Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "We see chronological age as a topic of discussion time and again during elections, even though scientific and medical evidence tells us that biological age is far more important."

Trump has an elevated familial risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, but the study authors note "neither candidate is expected to have major cognitive functioning challenges" in the near future. The researchers write that Biden has a "nearly perfect health profile for a man his age," but Trump has "significant but modifiable" risk factors, notably his weight.

Both candidates are projected to live longer than the average man in the United States. The probability that Biden reaches the age of 85 is 66 percent and Trump's is placed at 60 percent. Despite the Trump campaign repeatedly calling Biden's mental competency into question, the study authors say this is not the case for either candidate. The study was conducted and released prior to Trump's announcement early Friday that he had contracted COVID-19. His physicians said Saturday that he is set for a full and quick recovery.

"The weaponizing of aging to portray the opposing candidate as a doddering old fool, in the presidential campaign, is ageism, pure and simple," Wilcox said in a press release Friday. "In this election, each candidate is biologically younger than their chronological age."

Newsweek reached out to the study authors and both campaigns for additional remarks Saturday afternoon.

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This combination of pictures created on September 29, 2020 shows Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and US President Donald Trump speaking during the first presidential debate at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio on September 29, 2020. JIM WATSON / Contributor/Getty Images