Politicians Who Struggled With Weighty Issues

Many politicians have battled weight problems in the public eye.

ByABC News
May 7, 2013, 3:09 PM

May 7, 2013 -- intro: Politicians have always been put under the microscope for their appearances, regardless of their titles or political parties. Under this kind of scrutiny, many public figures are forced to face personal problems, like weight issues.

quicklist:1title: Chris Christietext: After months of being scrutinized for his weight, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has admitted to getting lap band surgery. Christie reportedly had the procedure done over President's Day weekend.

Christie has been vocal about his struggles with weight in the past. In a July 2012 interview with Barbara Walters, the governor said that he has been trying to lose weight for more than 30 years.

The decision to go under the knife came after months of speculation about a potential 2016 presidential run and in the midst of Christie's gubernatorial campaign.


quicklist:2title: Bill Clintontext: As president, Bill Clinton was notorious for his love of junk food. On the road, Clinton was often spotted munching on barbeque, cheeseburgers, and desserts. Even his best efforts to stay healthy resulted in trips (or jogs) to McDonald's.

Clinton's eating habits caught up with him when he left the Oval Office. In 2004, the former president underwent quadruple bypass surgery and in February 2010 Clinton had another surgery to clear a blocked artery in his heart.

Clinton subsequently traded sugar for salads and stuck to a veggie-heavy diet. The results were visible since he reportedly lost more than 20 pounds just in time to walk daughter, Chelsea Clinton, down the aisle at her July 2010 wedding.


quicklist:3title: Mike Huckabeetext: In 2002, Arkansas governor and past presidential hopeful, Mike Huckabee was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. Huckabee's poor eating habits and weight factored heavily into the diagnosis, forcing the politician to make a change for the better. After years of struggling with weight loss, Huckabee successfully shed more than 100 pounds in 2007, ran a marathon and wrote a book about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

In Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and a Fork, Huckabee labels his starting weight as being equivalent to that "of a cement truck," and shares a series of weight-related humiliations before offering up advice to readers.

Huckabee remained slender throughout his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, but the success was short lived. As of 2011, Huckabee seems to have visibly gained back a good portion of his weight.


quicklist:4title: Claire McCaskilltext: Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill announced her weight loss plans to the world on Twitter.

"I'm tired of looking and feeling fat. Maybe talking about it publicly will keep me on track as I try to be more disciplined. Off to the gym," she tweeted in May 2011.

McCaskill tackled weight loss with the traditional strategy of diet and exercise. She even avoided some of her favorite desserts in the process.

During a state fair visit in August 2011, McCaskill tweeted,"Re: State Fair visit. Since I've been on this health kick I guess a funnel cake is out of the question?"

After five months of following a strict meal and work-out regimen, she tweeted her success story to followers.

"GOOAALLLLLLLL!! I did it! Lost 50 lbs. Thank you Team Charles and my new BFF...Mr Treadmill. Healthy food and lots of exercise," she tweeted in October 2011.


quicklist:5title: Kirsten Gillibrandtext: In less than a year, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand slimmed down from a size 16 to a size 6, won an election and had a baby. Along the way, her achievements landed her on the pages of Vogue, and spurred a media frenzy.

Apart from the usual diet and exercise, Gillibrand also used a nontraditional strategy for weight loss by giving away all of the clothes she used to wear before gaining weight. In a 2010 interview with the New York Post, Gillibrand said she did this to give herself a fresh start.

"I'm going to give away all my clothes because I want to start fresh and I wanted to reward myself; if I ever get back to that size, I can buy new clothes. I gave away every stitch of clothing that I was not wearing," she said.


quicklist: 6title: William Howard Tafttext: During his time in the Oval Office, President William Howard Taft was responsible for a number of legal and political achievements, however, to this day he remains best known for his tremendous weight.

Taft's weight peaked at 340 pounds, and spurred a number of weight-related rumors, including the one about the president getting stuck in a White House bathtub. In more serious terms, historians have noted that Taft's weight was linked to struggles with obstructive sleep apnea and high blood pressure.

After leaving the White House, Taft alleviated many of these problems by dropping 80 pounds, and reviving his interest in outdoor activities.