NEW YORK – Former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday that he will manage his stress better after undergoing a procedure to unclog a blocked artery, but emphasized that he has no intention of slowing down.
It would be a mistake to stop working, Clinton said at an event focusing on childhood obesity.
"I've been given this gift of life by my surgery five years ago, the medicine I take, the lifestyle changes I've made," he said. "I don't want to throw it away by being a vegetable. I want to do things with it every day."
Clinton said he would make changes like getting more sleep and being more disciplined about exercising every day.
"I intend to continue to work as hard as I can, but I'm going to manage the stress better," he said.
Clinton, who had quadruple bypass surgery more than five years ago, was hospitalized Thursday to have a clogged artery opened after he felt discomfort in his chest. Tests showed that one of the bypasses from the surgery was completely blocked.
The former president said his hectic schedule in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti probably played a role.
"I didn't sleep much for a month, that probably accelerated what was already going on," Clinton said. He added that it's not uncommon for bypasses like his to fail after some years.
The event Wednesday showcased the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a collaboration between the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association that focuses on fighting childhood obesity. Among its efforts are initiatives where makers of snack foods and beverages voluntarily agree to offer better food and drink choices in schools.
Speaking to a group of young people, Clinton encouraged to them to make smart choices.
"What you're doing today may affect your life for 20, 30, 40, 50, for many of you, 70 or 80 years," he told them.
Clinton also praised efforts by first lady Michelle Obama to fight childhood obesity. Last week, she unveiled "Let's Move," a national campaign to help parents make better food choices, to get healthier food in school vending machines and lunch lines, to make healthy food more available and affordable, and to encourage children to exercise more.