First things first: I'm not a fan of fat jokes. Sometimes they're irresistible, sometimes they slip out, sometimes they make me laugh, but not very often. Obesity is a serious issue, it's difficult to cope with both emotionally and physically, it's not easy to lose weight, and sometimes it's impossible. That's not funny, and the premise of this post is not intended to be either.
My now-retired father was an internist who sub-specialized in cardiology. So, because a main focus of his practice was heart health, he insisted that all his patients and, of course, his family, adhere to healthy diets and life styles.
Being raised by a doctor, and by extension, a circle of family friends who were doctors, I learned as a teeny tiny tot that obesity could shorten one's life and/or cause all kinds of problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.
Enter Barbara Walters, who pulled a "some say" on Chris Christie about his size. Yes, she went there:
"There are people who say that you couldn't be president because you're so heavy."
But Walters persisted:
"They're worried about your health."
Christie's response was a resounding "Pshyeah, right":
"I've done this job pretty well, and I think people watched me for the last number of weeks in Hurricane Sandy, doing 18 hours days and getting right back up the next day and still being just as effective in the job, so I don't really think that would be a problem."
Oh well, so long as he doesn't "think that would be a problem." I wonder what his doctor thinks. Or any competent doctor, for that matter.
Nobody is saying he couldn't do his job "pretty well." Christie could continue to work 20 hour days, and then get right back up and work another 20... and then keel over in the blink of an eye. Of course, that could happen to anyone, but a person of his size could be less able to withstand the long term stress and demands that go with the job. And this doesn't even take into account how our chief executives seem to age more quickly than the rest of us, another side effect of such a strenuous occupation.
The risks of being overweight are serious and even deadly. So dismissing with a "Hey, I worked really, really long days and so far I still managed to stay alive!" doesn't cut it and certainly doesn't take a valid concern seriously.
Christie's overall health is a consideration. Physician reports on major political figures (especially presidents) are blasted all over the media when they're released and for good reason. America worries and wants to be reassured that the leader of the free world is in good enough shape to take on the enormous pressures, both physical and mental, that the job requires.
And that's nothing to sneeze at.