Being the president of the United States means debating with politicians, following strict security protocol, and promoting the best interests of Americans—along with being the leader of the free world. But like the rest of us, presidents do have their share of strange habits.
Take John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States. According to Thurston Clarke’s book, JFK’s Last Hundred Days, he often traveled with a bathroom scale because he was obsessed with his weight. He also reportedly avoided swimming in public because he felt sensitive about his “Fitzgerald breasts.”
John F. Kennedy (pulling wagon), and siblings Joe Jr., Kathleen, Rosemary, and Eunice. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
A young Joe Kennedy Jr. and John F. Kennedy at Hyannisport, Massachusetts, 1925. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
1927: Headshot portrait of John F Kennedy (1917-1963) at age ten, standing outdoors and wearing a suit with his hair slicked back. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Joseph P. Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Great Britain (L), poses for newspapermen when he arrived on the S.S. Queen Mary. He is 'not', he said, 'particularly optimistic about peace in Europe.' With him is his son, John Kennedy, who went down the bay to meet him on board ship.
27th September 1938: John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) sits with his hands on a desk while attending Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
John Kennedy, on the S.S. Queen Mary, about to visit members of his family in London.
John F. Kennedy and sister Kathleen Kennedy at Palm Beach, Florida. ca/ 1934-40. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Naval Lieutenant and future President John F Kennedy on board the torpedo boat he commanded in the Southwest Pacific. (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
Portrait of John F Kennedy, future US senator and president, wearing his U.S. Navy uniform and posing with his hands in his lap, World War II (1939-1945), circa 1940. During the war, Kennedy served as a PT boat commander in the Pacific, earning medals for rescuing most of his crew after their boat was sunk in action. (Photo by Frank Turgent/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
6/11/1944-Washington, DC: The Navy and Marine Corps medal has been awarded to Lt.John F. Kennedy son of the former American Ambassador to Britain, for 'extremely heroic conduct' when his PT boat was cut in two and sunk by a Jap destroyer. A juior lieutenant and skipper of the PT at the time of the action (August, 1943), Lt. Kennedy swam through shark infested Soloman Island waters to rescue members of his crew. Then the Naval officer and his men made their way to a tiny Island where they were hidden by natives until another PT boat from their base made a daring trip in to enemy help waters to rescue the survivors.
(Original Caption) John F. Kennedy (D-Mass.), with his sister, Eunice, shown in kennedy apartment in Washington.
(Original Caption) 9/13/1953-Newport, RI: Hundreds jammed outside the century-old church of St. Mary's in Newport, to catch a glimpse of Senator John F. Kennedy and his bride, the former Jacqueline Lee Bouvier after their wedding yesterday. The Massachusetts Senator is the son of the former ambassador to the court of St. James, Joseph P. Kennedy.
(Original Caption) Mr. and Mrs. John F. Kennedy and wedding party after church ceremony. Photo.
(Original Caption) 9/12/1953-Newport RI- The wedding party poses at Hammersmith Farm after the ceremony at St. Mary's Church in Newport, RI, September 12, which united Senator John F. Kennedy, 36, with lovely Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, 24(center). Hammersmith Farm belongs to the Bride's Grandfather. Kennedy is the son of the multi-millionare former Ambassador to Great Britain. The couple met in Washington while Mrs. Kennedy was employed as an inquiring photographer for a Washington newspaper.
(Original Caption) Newport, RI: Democratic Senator John F. Kennedy and his bride, the former Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, cut their wedding cake after their marriage yesterday at St. Mary's Church in Newport.
(Original Caption) Mr and Mrs. John F. Kennedy cutting their wedding cake.
(Original Caption) Senator John F. Kennedy gestures during a conversation with Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt in a rare public appearance together at Brandeis university here, 2nd. They appeared for a taped telecast in which they exchanged views on developments that threaten the western alliance today. Hours earlier, in Washington, D.C., Kennedy officially announced his intent to sees the Democratic presidential nomination.
(Original Caption) On the 2nd anniversary of the death of Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., son of former Ambassador to England, his family presented a check for $600,000 to Archbishop Richard J. Cushing for the erection of a convalescent home for children of the poor, which will bear the name of the Naval hero. Left to right are John Wright, Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, the Archbishop, Mother Emile Ange, and Sister St. Hubert, both of the Franciscan Sisters of Mary.
(Original Caption) Rep. John Kennedy, D, MA, said he believed it would be impossible to incorporate Western Germany into the European defense set-up for '18 months to two years from now.' Kennedy is seen seated at desk, talking. Complete Caption in Envelope
U.S. senator John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963) and his wife, Jacqueline (1929 - 1994), sit on the grass in front of their home, Hyannis, Massachusetts, 1953. They had just married. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1953: United States Senator John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) helping his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929 - 1994), adjust a camera in front of their home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
HYANNIS PORT, MA - JUNE 1953: Senator John F. Kennedy and fiance Jacqueline Bouvier go sailing while on vacation at the Kennedy compound in June 1953 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. (Photo by Hy Peskin/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 7/28/1953- Hynannisport, MA: Up with the sail. Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Democratic presidential nominee, is shown with his wife, then fiancee, Miss Jacqueline Bouvier, as they adjust the rigging on a small boat in this photo filed June 28th, 1953.
Senator John F. Kennedy, who was operated on for a spinal condition last October 21, is shown being lifted into an ambulance after leaving New York's hospital for special surgery today. The Hospital which said Senator Kennedy's condition remains 'good', announced that he will spend a period of several months convalescing at the Palm Beach home of his Father, former ambassador to Britain, Joseph P. Kennedy. Mrs. Kennedy, watches the transfer to the ambulance.
Senator John F. Kennedy sits beside wife Jackie in Hyannisport. Kennedy is about to embark on a campaign tour for the presidential elections.
(Original Caption) Senator and Mrs. John F. Kennedy chat with potential voters as they walk along the main street of Nashua surrounded by Placard-bearing boosters here January 25th. Mrs. Kennedy joined the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts for his 'invasion' of New Hampshire with a view to winning the State's primary in the race for Presidential nomination.
(Original Caption) Robert F. Kennedy (left), counsel of the Senate Committee on Racketeering in Labor and Industry, and his brother John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), a member of the committee, confer at the hearing in Washington yesterday which heard testimony about the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The Senate investigators heard how $30,000 in funds belonging to a Spokane, Washington, local of the Teamsters had been lent to a friend of the son of Dave Beck, the Union's President, to finance a Seattle tavern.
John F. Kennedy walks with three other men as he attends a St. Patrick's Day parade in south Boston. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Senator-elect John F. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts).
John F. Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy at the beach. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
John F. Kennedy painting at an easel while Jacqueline Kennedy looks over his shoulder. Palm Beach, Florida, 1955. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Kennedy family at Thanksgiving at Hyannisport, Massachusetts, 1948. From left: John F. Kennedy, Jean Ann Smith, Rose Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy Sr., Patricia Lawford, Robert F. Kennedy, Eunice Mary Shriver, Edward Kennedy (squatting). (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
John F Kennedy with Patricia and Peter Lawford (Photo by George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty Images)
Robert F. Kennedy and John F. Kennedy at the Mclellan hearings, regarding labor racketeering charges against the Teamsters Union, led by Jimmy Hoffa. May 1957. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Senator John F. Kennedy and brother Robert F. Kennedy conferring in a hallway, August 4, 1959. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
John F. Kennedy giving directions to his secretary Evelyn Lincoln. August 4, 1959. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
November 22, 1993 will mark the 30th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy, and Texas Governor John Connally ride through Dallas moments before Kennedy was assassinated, November 22, 1963
Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy shakes hands with a crowd in Seattle following his speech on the first day of his presidential campaign. (Photo by ï¿½ Ted Spiegel/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy stands before the crowds at the Democratic National Convention, where he accepts nomination for president.
American politician Senator (and future US President) John F Kennedy (1917 - 1963) addresses the Democratic National Convention after being his nomination for President, Los Angeles, California, July 13, 1960. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
Senator and Democratic presidential nominee, John F. Kennedy, addresses a crowd in Detroit's Cadillac Square.
BOSTON - NOVEMBER 7: Senator John F. Kennedy wound up his presidential campaign at a huge rally in Boston Garden, Nov. 7, 1960. After a whirlwind tour through New England on the final day of campaigning JFK returned to address a crowd of over 22,000 enthusiastic supporters. He reminded the supporters of his Boston roots. 'I come here to Boston to this Garden which is located in the 11th Congressional District of the State of Massachusetts, which my grandfather represented 60 years ago, and which I had the honor of representing 14 years ago when I was first elected to the House of Representatives. I have therefore proudly come back to this spot and ask your help tonight to be elected president of the United States.' (Photo by Edmund Kelley/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy relaxes in his Boston apartment. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Francis Cardinal Spellman (center) is flanked by the two Presidential aspirants, Senator John F. Kennedy (Left) and Vice President Richard M. Nixon as they attended the Alfred E. Smith memorial dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel here. October 19th. Earlier, Nixon accused Kennedy of a series of 'miss statements and distortions' and issued a lengthy campaign documents aimed at refusing the Democratic candidate's claims.
President-elect John F. Kennedy shakes hands with Father Richard J. Casey after attending mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, prior to inauguration ceremonies, January 20, 1961. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) President Kennedy is shown as he held his news conference at the State Department. The Chief Executive refused to engage in a public discussion of the positions Ambassador Adlai Stevenson and National Security Council Members took before the decision to blockade.
Astronaut John Glenn hands a hard hat to President John F. Kennedy at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Several days before, Glenn became the first person to orbit the Earth with the Mercury-Atlas 6 mission. (Photo by Dean Conger/Corbis via Getty Images)
Test pilots of the X-15 rocket plane watch as President John F. Kennedy awards the Harmon International Trophy to NASA at the White House. The X-15 rocket plane, built by North American Aviation, was used in a joint project by the United States Air Force and NASA to do preparatory research for manned space flight in the early 1960s. (Photo by Dean Conger/Corbis via Getty Images)
President John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower at Camp David, 1962. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) John and Jackie Kennedy and their two children, Caroline and John Jr. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Sygma via Getty Images)
Caroline Kennedy kneels beside her mother, Jacqueline, during memorial ceremonies for the late President John F. Kennedy. (Photo by ï¿½ Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jacqueline Kennedy and her husband Senator John F. Kennedy sit on a lounge chair at their summer home. Jacqueline reads to her daughter Caroline from a book.
Jacqueline Kennedy watches as husband John F. Kennedy speaks into several microphones, in front of a back drop of flags. Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), thirty-fifth president of the United States, relaxes in his trademark rocking chair in the Oval Office. (Photo by ï¿½ CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
CAMBRIDGE, MA - JUNE 16: From left, Senator John F. Kennedy; Bradford Washburn, director of the Science Museum; and David Rockefeller stand at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on June 16, 1960. Kennedy was on campus for an overseers meeting (Photo by Jack O'Connell/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Major General Joseph Mobutu, the Commander in Chief of the Congolese armed forces with the American President John F. Kennedy during a 1963 visit to the White House. (Photo by ï¿½ Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
- PHOTO TAKEN 22NOV1963 - President John F. Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy walk down the steps of Air Force One as they arrive at Love Field in Dallas, Texas less than an hour before his assassination in this November 22, 1963 photo by White House photographer Cecil Stoughton obtained from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The 40th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination will be on November 22, 2003. ??? USE ONLY (Credit : JFK Library/The White House/Cecil Stoughton)
(Original Caption) Hyannisport, MA.: Followed by a small crowd, Senator John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, stroll along pier going to their yacht Marlin for a cruise on Nantucket Sound.
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So why did JFK have such a fixation on his weight? It may have arisen from how closely his mother, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, tracked the health of her nine children. To help her remember her kids’ physical conditions, she wrote down their weights, shoe sizes, dental treatments, eye examinations, and illnesses on note cards in an “extensive filing system.” The cards, Rose said, were “Kennedy desperation.”
Rose was even known to have told JFK’s younger sister, Rosemary, that she shouldn’t eat dessert because she needed to lose weight, Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, whose aunt was Rosemary’s caretaker, told PEOPLE. Koehler-Pentacoff sometimes had dinner with Rosemary and could see her looking out for desserts her mother wouldn’t let her have.
“Rose and Joe [JFK’s father] were concerned about all the kids’ weights,” Kate Clifford Larson, author of Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter, revealed in the same PEOPLE article. “It was constant theme throughout their whole lives.”