Health

Gov. Chris Christie's Secret Stomach Surgery: Slimming Down for 2016 Presidential Bid?

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie underwent gastric band surgery in February in order to lose weight, said spokesman Michael Drewniak.

Despite numerous rumors about a 2016 presidential bid, Christie denied that was the motivation for the surgery. Drewniak said the father of four underwent the procedure at the urging of his family.

"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," Christie told The Post. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."

Christie said the the surgery to shrink the size of his stomach lasted only 40 minutes and he was able to go home that afternoon.

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"A week or two ago, I went to a steakhouse and ordered a steak and ate about a third of it and I was full," he said.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he lost 110 pounds during his presidential bid in 2008.

"I know it sounds crazy to say that running for president is minor,” Christie said, “but in the grand scheme of things, it was looking at Mary Pat and the kids and going, `I have to do this for them, even if I don't give a crap about myself.’”

"You know, remember that (former Mississippi Governor) Haley Barbour said, 'If I lose 50 pounds, it's because I'm running for president or I got sick.' Chris Christie in typical fashion is cutting to the chase doing this,” said CBS News political director John Dickerson on "CBS This Morning."

Christie made an appearance on David Letterman earlier this year, where he joked about his weight. “I’m basically the healthiest fat guy you’ve ever seen in your life,” Christie said.

A former White House physician, Dr. Connie Mariano, told CNN in February that she worried Gov. Christie would die in office, if he became president. "I worry that he may have a heart attack, he may have a stroke … it’s almost like a time bomb waiting to happen," Mariano said.

Christie shot back saying, unless Mariano gives him a physical and learns his family history, “she should shut up” about his weight.

Days after Mariano’s comments, on Feb. 16, Christie had gastric band surgery. He went through a great deal of trouble to hide the surgery from the public, sources told The Post. He never went to his doctor’s office for medical visits, instead Dr. George Fielding, the head of NYU Medical Center’s Weight Management Program, went to Christie’s house in Mendham.

Running for a second term in November, Christie’s weight has been estimated at 300 to 350 pounds. He declined to say how much weight he had lost since surgery.

With a well-known version sold under the brand name Lap-Band®, gastric band surgery is a minimally invasive procedure. The banding system constricts the size of the stomach so that less food can be put into it at a time.

According to The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, 200,000 people in the U.S. undergo weight loss surgery each year.

Sources: NY Post, CBS News