Portly Leader of New Jersey National Guard Passes Fitness Test After Christie Orders Him to Lose Weight

The overweight leader of New Jersey's National Guard has passed a fitness test, meeting a deadline to shape up that was imposed by Gov. Chris Christie, who himself has faced questions about his weight.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff was given 90 days to slim down and meet his obligations in September after he was reprimanded by the Pentagon about his weight and for repeatedly dodging physical-fitness tests. He informed Republican Gov. Christie that he was administered his fitness test Tuesday and passed, Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said Wednesday.

It was unclear how much weight the general had to lose. He flunked his first fitness test in more than three years in November 2013 when his waist size was measured at 43.5 inches, 4.5 inches larger than allowed.

Cunniff had lost a "tremendous amount of weight," said a National Guard spokesman, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Patrick Daugherty, but he declined Wednesday to provide additional details on the results of the fitness test. Cunniff was unavailable to comment, Daugherty said.

Cunniff said in September that many people struggle with weight control and he wasn't immune from it.

"However," he said, "I do recognize that military members and leaders, like myself, are held to a higher standard. I take this matter seriously and am taking the necessary steps to remedy this issue."

Roberts said in September that Christie, who is seeking his party's nomination for president, "expressed directly to the general that his failure to meet that standard or to provide notification of his formal reprimand is both unacceptable and disappointing."

Christie, who once called himself "the healthiest fat guy you've ever seen," underwent lap band weight loss surgery in 2013.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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