Can Obama Teach Country How to Overcome Bad Habits?

"I can't imagine that that helps," Gibbs said Monday. "While he's quit smoking, he is -- occasionally falls off -- off the wagon when it comes to that, and -- like many who have struggled with kicking that habit."

Obama in Excellent Medical Shape, but Faces Higher Cholesterol

Smoking can impact a patient's LDL, which was the doctor's second concern.

"There are a lot of cardiovascular problems from just a few cigarettes a day," Besser said.

The White House blamed Obama's elevated LDL level on the 2008 campaign diet and having a White House chef at his beck and call.

"I think, candidly, if you asked him, the diet of, first and foremost, a campaign is not as conducive -- we were all living and, thankfully, breathing examples of that," Gibbs said. "I think he would be also the first to tell you that he ... has probably had a few more cheeseburgers, and I think he would admittedly tell you he's had more desserts ... in the last year than ... I've seen him eat prior to this."

On the way back from the Naval Medical Center this weekend, the president said, per Gibbs, "Look, I just have to say no to dessert more often."

The president's obsession with pie, or at least with saying "pie" in speeches, was well chronicled during his presidential campaign.

The president told the Associated Press in July that the White House pastry chef makes "the best pie I have ever tasted, and that has caused big problems with Michelle and I. ... Whatever pie you like, he will make it and it will be the best pie you have ever eaten. And so, we are having to figure out how to resist ordering pie every night."

During his physical, the president also underwent a virtual colonoscopy instead of the standard procedure. Some colon specialists expressed concern about that but most backed the decision, given that the president would have to go under anesthesia, which requires a temporary transfer of power to the vice president.

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