Last week, the web was abuzz with stories regarding ridiculously overweight New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, and his "health scare" after being hospitalized last Thursday morning on the account of difficulty breathing (insert fat joke), according to his office.
The rotund Republican was taken to Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, N.J., "out of an abundance of caution," press secretary Michael Drewniak said in a statement.
"In line with someone dealing with asthma, he is being given routine tests as a precautionary measure," Drewniak said. "The governor is extremely grateful for the quality of care he is receiving this morning and has nothing but praise for the world-class doctors, nurses and staff."
Indeed, Governor Christie has made it widely known that he has been suffering from asthma for years. Superficially, the 800 pound elephant in the room appears to be, well, the 800 pound elephant in the room.Chris Christie's morbid obesity and personal health has been a highly discussed topic given his potential (just don't ask him) 2012 presidential aspirations. Presidential image control isn't exactly a new trend. As a candidate, Barack Obama vehemently downplayed the fact he was a smoker (though a lot of Americans were more concerned with the blackness of his complexion). Bill Clinton, a man with a grater proclivity for junk food than extra-marital affairs, constantly made light of his late-night McDonald's runs. George W. Bush was an avid runner (reader might have been better, and 2008 Presidential Republican Nominee John McCain was perpetually the focus of questions regarding his age. So it's safe to assume that the gargantuan governor can't get by just on his calm demeanor alone.
Looking to capitalize on Chris Christie's recent asthma admission, New Jersey environmental groups are hoping to use on Gov. Chris Christie’s asthma attack to make a point about clean air in the state. For example, Environment New Jersey released a statement offering Christie “best wishes for a speedy recovery,” but posted an online petition calling on Christie to sign the League of Women Voters’ Clean Air Promise.
“Gov. Christie has not done enough to clean up New Jersey’s air, but after being hospitalized for an asthma attack recently, we hope he’ll be more sympathetic to the challenges 163,000 New Jersey kids with asthma face every day,” reads the statement.
Chris Christie's record on the environment has been questionable at best. The Governor infuriated clean energy advocates in June when he decided to abandon the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative — a 10-state program to limit greenhouse gases from power plants. Running for governor in 2009, Chris Christie pledged to become “New Jersey’s No. 1 clean-energy advocate,” which one can only conclude was a more hollow promise than his 'non-politician' pledge to lower property taxes.
While it's true that asthma can be exacerbated by air pollution, it mostly affects individuals that smoke, who are exposed to second hand smoke, are overweight, exposed to poor indoor air qualty, and who reside in big cities. Research indicates that obese people who have asthma are nearly five times more likely to be hospitalized for the problem and to have lower quality of life and worse control of the disease than those with asthma who are normal weight.
A few years ago, researchers from Kaiser Permanente, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School evaluated 1,113 adults with asthma, all members of Kaiser, in Oregon, Washington or Colorado. When they questioned participants weight, height, smoking habits, other illness, asthma treatment and their quality of life associated with asthma, as well as their asthma control and any hospitalizations related to the condition, these were their findings:
"Even accounting for all of those factors, there was a pretty dramatic difference for obese asthmatics versus non-obese asthmatics," said study authors Dr. Michael Schatz, chief of the department of allergy at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego, and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
In sum, Chris Christie is bigger than the helicopters in which he takes joyrides. Conclusively, the governor is more susceptible to asthma attacks and hospitalizations.
The governor himself conceded that his weight was the culprit behind his hospitalization.