New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who underwent bariatric surgery a year ago, is being lauded as a weight-loss success story, NBC News
A top bariatric-surgery expert estimates that the Republican governor actually has shed between 90 pounds and 100 pounds from his 5-foot-11 frame, slimming down to about 320 pounds after having gastric-banding surgery in February 2013.
While Christie is still not what could be described as thin, Ninh T. Nguyen, M.D. president of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, said his weight loss represents a clear success.
"We're trying to get somebody into a healthy lifestyle and reduce their obesity-related conditions,” said Nguyen, director of bariatric surgery at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center. “We're not trying to make somebody skinny here."
Christie's weight has been fodder for comedians, late night talk show hosts, and political pundits alike, with much speculation that his extra weight could derail any plans for a 2016 U.S. presidential bid.
Christie, 51, has not talked much about the procedure that helped him shed pounds. "What I will say is that I'm more than halfway to my goal," he told CBS News in late September, without divulging what that goal was.
Judging by photographs, however, Dr. Nguyen said Christie has lost up to 45 percent of his excess weight in the first year, about what might be expected from adjustable gastric band surgery, more commonly known as Lap-Band.
"From the images I saw, I would say, yes, I would regard it as successful," Dr. Nguyen said.
Thomas Inge, M.D., a bariatric expert at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, echoed that view.
"With everything the man is dealing with, it is a wonder he has done so well," Dr. Inge told NBC News.