New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose weight has been both joked about and treated as a real health concern, told The New York Post on Monday that he "secretly underwent lap-band stomach surgery [in February] to aggressively slim down for the sake of his wife and kids."
"I've struggled with this issue for 20 years," he told the Post. "For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them."
During the 2008 presidential campaign, many pundits openly talked about Christie's weight as a hinderance to the vice presidency and, by extension, the presidency. But Christie told the Post that the decision to undergo surgery wasn't motivated by a potential White House run.
"It's so much more important than that," he said.
A Christie spokesman, by the way, confirmed the news to New Jersey's Star-Ledger. The newspaper followed up with a series of headlines, analyzing the surgery:
Back in 2011, NPR's Carrie Kahn took a look at different weight loss surgeries. The bottom line, she reported, is that any surgery is "not a magic pill" for obese patients. Carrie reported, however, that more than 200,000 bariatric surgeries are performed annually.
During a news conference a few minutes ago, Gov. Christie was asked why he kept this surgery secret.
"In terms of keeping it secret," he said, "it's nobody else's business."
Christie reiterated what he had told The New York Post — that this was not political decision.
"It's not a career issue for me," he said. "It's a long-term health issue for me."
He said he just turned 50 and he was confronted with his "own mortality." He made the decision to have lap-band stomach surgery for his survival and his family, he said, was supportive.