As an older overweight male, President Donald Trump has an additional risk factor that's not talked about much.

As a social worker in the public schools, I sometimes taught values clarification — i.e. responsibility, caring, etc. — to students. A simple but powerful exercise from Howe and Simon's book "Values Clarification: A Handbook of Practical Strategies for Teachers and Students" illustrated the importance of honesty.

A volunteer student was asked to stand, extend arms outward and to his or her sides as if making a cross with his or her body. The student was then asked to repeat something truthful about him/herself 10 times (i.e. name, age, etc). Upon the 10th repetition, I would attempt to push their extended arms down. To everyone's astonishment, it was nearly impossible to do so.

Next, the same student was asked to repeat a lie about him or herself 10 times. Pushing the student's arms down was as easy as slicing a knife through warm butter.

Yes, lying literally makes the body weak. Telling the truth makes it strong. Chronic lying adds to Trump's list of risk factors.

According to The Washington Post, Trump told an unprecedented 20,055 false and misleading claims in 1,267 days. This COVID-19 illness may be the wake-up call Trump needs when he recovers: Tell the truth to the American people. It can strengthen you morally as well as physically.

KENNETH J. MITCHELL

retired school social worker

New Orleans