New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) secretly underwent a medical operation in February to help him lose weight, he told the New York Post on Tuesday.

According to the report, Christie, 50, had gastric band surgery, which restricts the amount of food one can eat, at the urging of his family who was concerned about his health.


“I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” Christie said. “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”

The New Jersey governor is one of the most popular political figures in the country, and many consider him to be in the top-tier of potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates.

Christie told the Post the surgery had nothing to do with his political ambitions.

“It’s so much more important than that,” he said.

Christie reportedly did his best to keep the operation a secret – having the doctor visit him in his home before the procedure and checking into the hospital under a fake name.

The governor has previously addressed his struggles with weight loss.

In February, Christie joked about his weight on “The Late Show with David Letterman," and later discussed it seriously in a press conference where he said his doctor told him his “luck is going to run out relatively soon.”

“The idea that somehow I don't care about this, of course I care about it, and I'm making the best effort I can and sometimes I'm successful and other times I'm not," Christie said. 

Christie, though, has rebuffed charges that his health would interfere with his work as governor or if he sought higher office.

In February, Christie called a former White House doctor a “hack” and told her to “shut up” after she went on CNN and said he was at risk of dying in office.