Huffpost Politics
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Steve Siebold Headshot

Governor Chris Christie Not Fit to Be President

Posted: Updated:
AP
AP

Chris Christie's weight dominates the news yet again, after the New Jersey governor appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman eating a doughnut and partaking in fat jokes. While Christie is considered by many to be the frontrunner for becoming the GOP's presidential nominee in 2016, others aren't so sure and have concerns over the governor's size.

Some experts like former White House physician Connie Mariano worry that if Christie becomes president, he could very easily suffer a heart attack or stroke. She even told CNN she's concerned of the possibility of Christie "dying in office." Christie lashed out at Dr. Mariano telling her to "shut up about his weight" and called himself "remarkably healthy" and "the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen."

Despite the governor's optimism about his health, he's being delusional. There's nothing healthy about obesity -- and not only has it been proven to lead to a number of illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes; it kills. The governor acknowledges that even his own doctor continues to warn him that his luck is going to run out relatively soon, and Christie says he's making the best effort he can, but it's not good enough.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) and approximately 17 percent (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. With numbers this high, and that are expected to get even worse in coming years, obesity has been called, and is clearly a massive epidemic.

With obesity being such a problem in the entire world and right here in the United States, having a leader who laughs it off and even jokes about it on national television is of major concern. The message that Chris Christie is sending says, "It's okay to be fat." In essence, he's right; obesity is a choice and if people want to live their lives whistling past the graveyard, that's their decision.

The problem in this case: the president of the United States is a role model in so many ways. As the leader of the free world, he should not be condoning this kind of behavior. If the president of the United States isn't an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, then why should anyone pay attention? Consciousness is contagious, so if the president is obese and doesn't make an effort to get healthy, why should anyone else? If Chris Christie is elected as the next president in 2016, we'll continue to be one of the fattest nations out there, lives will be cut drastically short and health insurance premiums will skyrocket as the health of a nation declines.

Despite what we were all taught about not judging a book by its cover, it happens every day. First impressions carry a lot of weight, literally. No matter how hard one tries to not form an opinion of something or someone without first learning more about the subject, it's impossible. The brain makes a first impression in one-tenth of a second.

This simply means that for the people who vote in 2016 and aren't the most politically inclined but tend to vote for a candidate based on what their instincts tell them, Chris Christie would be at a major disadvantage because of his weight.

Overweight employees have a long history of discrimination by their peers and management. According to NBCNews.com, a Yale University survey of about 2,000 overweight women showed that 53 percent of those polled said co-workers stigmatized them, and 43 percent said their employers stigmatized them.

These numbers aren't surprising, and Chris Christie would be stigmatized, too. His size alone puts him at a major disadvantage for those who don't know much about him, and some of those people won't even be open to what he has to say simply because of his appearance. Being overweight sends negative messages of failure, sloppiness, not being organized, lacking self-confidence, lacking motivation and erratic behavior. It says, "If I can't take care of myself, how am I going to take care of America?"

The solution is simple: it's time for Governor Chris Christie to grow up emotionally and stop joking around. He needs to get serious and develop the mental toughness to stick to a diet and exercise routine once and for all. Compared to the many problems he faces on a daily basis, losing weight is a very linear process. If he can learn to stick to a diet and exercise program, he will lose the weight. I'm not saying it's easy, but it really is that simple.

Besides saving his life, two more remarkable things would happen. First, Chris Christie would win the hearts of the American people for getting fit and healthy and probably be elected the next president. Second, imagine the precedent he would set. He could go down in history as the man who motivated a nation to overcome the obesity epidemic.