Category: Politics / May 7, 2013 6:03 PM EDT
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has struggled with obesity for much of his adult life, underwent lap band surgery in February to reduce the size of his stomach, at the urging of his wife and children, his press secretary said on Tuesday, May 7.
Christie underwent the surgery in February, top aide Mike Drewniak confirmed in an email to Reuters.
Lap band, or gastric banding, surgery is a procedure in which a silicone tube is wrapped around the upper part of the stomach, making it smaller, and limiting the amount of food the stomach can hold.
Christie, a plain-spoken and popular governor who rejected aggressive appeals from fellow Republicans to run for president prior to the 2012 election, said that the decision was made for his family, not for his political ambitions.
At a public event at the Teal Center in Newark, New Jersey Christie was asked about the surgery.
"Do I feel differently in terms of how I feel physically? No, I mean not really. I'm at the beginning stages of this thing so I don't feel markedly differently. And about how I feel about myself - I feel great about myself, but I felt great about myself before and I'll feel great about myself after no matter how it goes."
"You know, this has never defined me in my own mind. It's been an element in my life but it's never defined me or who I am,'" Christie said.
In the past, Christie's weight has been made an issue by his political opponents.
In 2009, then-Governor Jon Corzine ran an election ad in which he accused Christie of "throwing his weight around."
(Video Source: REUTERS)